Welcome to part three of this mini-series on my favourite vintage designers who changed and influenced fashion. In order they were:
1. Bob Mackie – Extravagant Glamour
2. Frank Usher – Elegance
3. Mary Quant – Innovation
4. Biba – Reinvention
Mary Quant – a name synonymous with many things and a huge name in the swinging 60’s for her revolutionary innovations in fashion whilst creating a whole new genre of ‘timeless/classic’ pieces for the future generations.
Mini skirts and hot pants – did she invent them? We’re not sure, but they have been attributed to her; she definitely made them popular and was known for the ever higher hemline. Apparently she named the mini skirt after her favourite car the Mini, but the name is also just the appropriate opposite of maxi length clothing. I’m not a personal fan of them and I’m not convinced that many women known how/when to wear them for maximum impact, rather they just wear them to show off their bodies too much but I do agree there are times and places for them.
Mod fashion – I believe Mary Quant’s unique style which led to ‘Mod’ (Modernist – based on a entire cultural trend at the time, with clothing being just a part of it) fashion was inspired by the beatniks beforehand. She took the ‘poetry cafe’ look and made it fun, carefree and added more colour/patterns (e.g. large polka and check/plaid) – in contrast to the ‘deep/heavy’ feel of beatnik culture. (Note – there’s a good Mod fashion walk through in film ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ starring Julie Andrews/Mary Tyler Moore/Carol Channing and some great Mod moments in ‘Sweet Charity’ starring Shirley MacLaine.)
Twiggy – a fair amount of Mary Quant’s fashion, in the advertising/modelling of it anyway, celebrated a different female form to the classic siren; she shed limelight on the female ganymede or androgyne. Even her design name ‘Quant’ was named after the long thin pole that is used for propelling punt river boats. Twiggy was a revolutionary model herself, being taller than average but shorter than the average model, thinner and ‘boyish’/prepubescent in looks with a bob haircut – and an international hit very young. Her inspiration Jean Shrimpton also modeled for Mary Quant, a legend in her own right, a supermodel before the self-proclaimed Janice Dickinson came along.
On to the pics!