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Marie Quant, mother of miniskirts, dies at 93

British designer Mary Quant, who revolutionized fashion and embodied the style of the Swinging 60s, a playful, youthful spirit born out of the streets of Paris rather than the ateliers of Paris, at her home in Surrey, southern England, on Thursday. died. She is 93 years old and is called the mother of miniskirts.

Her family announced in a statement filed with the British Press Association that she died “peacefully”.

In 1955, Ms. Quant and her aristocratic boyfriend, Alexander Plunkett-Greene, both 21 and fresh out of art school, were in the heart of Chelsea as Britain emerged from post-war poverty. I opened a boutique called Bazaar on King’s Road in London. Ms. Quant was filled with outfits worn by her and her bohemian friends, “bouillabaisse of clothes and accessories,” as she wrote in her autobiography, Quant on Quant (1966). , short flared skirts and pinafores, knee socks.Tights of all colors, funky jewelry and berets.

Young women at the time were turning their backs on the shape of their mother’s corset, with its curvy waist and ship’s prow chest, the Dior shape that had dominated since 1947. Age conveyed by hair helmets, twin sets and heels, and matching matching accessories – her models were typically in their thirties, not young gamins like Ms. Quant.

When I couldn’t find what I wanted, I made my own by buying fabrics at the Harrods retailer and stitching them together in a bedsit where my Siamese cat used to eat her butterlick patterns. worked from

Although not profitable for the first few years, the boutique was popular from the start, with young women stripping the place almost daily and grabbing new clothes from Mr. Quant’s arm as he headed to the store. There was also a thing. She and Mr. Plunkett Greene operated it as an all-time hangout and party, with jazz in the background, much like the coffee bars they frequented.

And they made the window display performance too. I was creeped out by a mannequin designed by a friend that looked like a young woman. In Mr. Quant’s words, it is a “bird.” , sometimes upside down, sprayed white, wearing round sunglasses on his bald head, wearing a striped bathing suit, and strumming a guitar.

Amateurs in accounting, the couple piled up their bills and paid top to bottom, like everything else. Vendors were often paid twice or not at all, depending on their position in the pile.

Ten years later, Mary Quant is a global brand with licenses around the world. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1966 for her contributions to British exports. Sales quickly reached her $20 million mark. When she toured the US with her new collection, she was greeted like her fifth Beatle. At one point she needed police protection. In the winter of 1966, the Associated Press proclaimed, “Quant expects a higher hem,” adding that designers “predicted that miniskirts would take hold today.”

JC Penney had a Mary Quant line and New York department stores had boutiques.for women and Men — packaged in paint boxes, garden-purchased eyelashes, lingerie, tights, shoes, outerwear, and furs. Introducing Daisy, a Mary Quant doll named after her.

“Celebrity designers are a recognized part of today’s modern fashion system, but in the 1960s, Mary rarely acted as a brand ambassador for her own clothes and brands,” 2019 said Jenny Lister, co-curator of Mr. Quant’s retrospective in 2012. She worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, told the New York Times“Not only did she sell quirky British cool, she actually was Quirky British cool, the ultimate Chelsea girl. ”

“I grew up not wanting to grow up,” Ms. Quanto once said. “Growing up looked terrible. To me, it was terrible. Children were free and sane, but adults were terrifying.”

Barbara Mary Quant was born on February 11, 1930 in Blackheath, South East London. Her parents, John and Mildred (Jones) Quant, were Welsh teachers who came from mining families.

But Mary wanted to study fashion. Her parents compromised when she received a scholarship to her art-focused Goldsmiths College (now Goldsmiths, University of London). There she met the wealthy-born eccentric Mr. Plunkett Green (the famous philosopher Bertrand Russell was a cousin, as was the Duke of Bedford). She’s jazz on the trumpet — a character straight out of an Evelyn Waugh novel (Waugh was a friend of her family).

They were both 16 years old and became inseparable. They enjoyed playing pranks and drawing attention to their attire: Mr. Plunket Greene once painted his bare breasts to mimic the buttons on a dress shirt. , recalled sneering, “Oh my god, look at this modern youth!” The title adopted by the pair: “Shall we be Modern Youth tonight?”

they met soon Archie McNair, a lawyer who became a portrait photographer and ran a coffee bar under his studio in Chelsea. The three decide to start a business together. Each man put out his £5,000 to purchase a building at 138a Kings Road. Mr. Quant, who worked at a hat shop, quit his job.

Thanks to the bazaar, King’s Road became the epicenter of British fashion and London the epicenter of the so-called youth earthquake. Ms. Quant is that avatar, dressed in her signature playsuit and boots, with large painted eyes, a pale face dotted with fake freckles, and a distinctive personality that makes its creator It had a bob. Vidal Sassoon, as famous as she is. His wash-and-wear cut hit the bony plump man as deadly as a miniskirt was on the twin set. I said

Early on, Mr. Quants embraced mass production and synthetic materials, fast fashion, purchased and discarded by the young women for whom it was designed.

Fascinated by cotton coated with PVC plastic, she created a raincoat that looks smooth in water. She fashioned her plastic boots in bright colors with clear “Ice Cube” heels and zippered tops.

“Why can’t machines understand what they can do instead of having them imitate what human hands do?” She told The New York Times Magazine in 1967“What we should do is use chemicals to make the fabric direct. We should blow clothes the way people blow glass. Cut and flatten fabric to turn round people.” It’s silly to do whatever you want.”

“In this machine age, it’s ridiculous to keep making clothes by hand,” she said. “The most extreme fashion should be very cheap. First, because only young people are bold enough to wear it. Second, because young people look better that way. Third. , because if it’s too extreme, it won’t last long.”

Quant and Plunket Greene were married in 1957. he died in 1990Quant has a son, Orlando Plunket Greene, and three grandchildren.

In 2000, Mr. Quant resigned from the board of directors of Mary Quant. boughtOr pushed out, as some reports claim — by the managing director of the company; In 2009, she was honored by the Royal Mail with her own stamp. This model wore a black Marie quant her flaring her mini. In 2015, Ms. Quant became a woman. The storefront once occupied by the bazaar is now a juice bar. plaque It now commemorates Mrs. Mary Quant.

In the spring of 2019, when the Victoria and Albert Museum hosted a retrospective of her work, showcasing 120 works from her prime in a vibrant exhibition, the curator responded to the call to share with thousands. I’ve included a montage of photos and memories from one woman. Their beloved Mary Quant’s work — Mr. Quant’s legacy and the nascent feminism of her time, along with stories of how emancipated young women wore them as they headed to job interviews and first dates. A strong tribute to

“I forgot all my clothes, but I still remember my first Mary Quantz.” Joan Juliet BuckGrowing up in 1960s London, the author and former editor of French Vogue says in this obituary interview. “Pumpkin jumper and aqua glitter miniskirt culottes, false girlish beige crepe dress with puff sleeves and pansies under the smock band under the chest, I could never have imagined. She clung to the feminine psyche as a girl that made miniskirts inevitable and uncontroversial.

But did she invent it? André CourrègesThe space-age French designer has long been credited with his creations, but it’s true that he was steadily stepping up his sleeves in the early 1960s. But as fashion historian Valerie Steele points out, Ms. Quant had his hem up since the moment Bazaar opened in 1955.

“We were at the beginning of a tremendous renaissance in fashion,” he wrote in his 1966 autobiography. “It wasn’t our fault. We were part of it, after all.”

“A good designer, like a clever newspaper reporter, knows that to have any impact, he must keep pace with public needs,” she writes. I happened to start when “something in the air” started to boil.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/13/fashion/mary-quant-dead.html Marie Quant, mother of miniskirts, dies at 93

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