British fashion designer Mary Quant, who was the fashion pioneer of Swinging Sixties in London, passed away at the age of 93, on Thursday.
Quant’s family informed about her demise and said she died “peacefully at home” in Surrey, southern England.
Quant was known as the pioneer of the Swinging Sixties as she popularised the culture of miniskirts and innovative tights in those days. She has also influenced the youth culture around the world. Her innovative dresses and accessories soon became an integral part of everyone’s wardrobe.
Creating mix-and-match and simple garments that had an element of whimsy was also the brainchild of Quant. Such was her creativity that some people even compared her impact on the fashion world to the Beatles’ impact on pop music.
“I think it was a happy confluence of events, which is really what fashion is so often all about,” said Hamish Bowles, International Editor for American Vogue magazine. “She was the right person with the right sensibility in the right place at the right time. She appeared on the scene at the exact cusp of the ’60s,” he added.
Bowles also praised her business acumen and said Quant was one of the first to understand how branding oneself as a creative could help her sustain her business. “Quant was perfectly positioned to capitalize on the youthquake that took hold in the 1960s,” he added.
Bowles said Quant had very early understood that the days of exclusive salons were numbered and brought in ready-to-wear trends. The style she created was no less than “sexy” and “frivolous”, a stark contrast to the traditional floral day dresses that were frequently worn after the war.
As soon as Quant’s miniskirts with hemlines up to 8 inches above the knee to the London scene were launched in 1966, they became a hit among youngsters, precisely because the style surprised and offended many at the same time. However, there were many controversies surrounding who developed the style first. Some said it was French designer Andre Courreges, while others said it was Anne Francis who popularised the miniskirt style.
Bowles said whether or not Quant designs miniskirts, she has certainly figured out how to market the dress to the masses.
Soon she shot to fame and her clothes were worn by models such as Twiggy and Pattie Boyd, who was then married to Beatles guitarist George Harrison. Amid all her fame, some publications even termed her clothes as “vulgar”. To which, she used to reply, “Good taste is death, vulgarity is life.”
Eventually, Quant diversified her interests and started developing makeup linens, kitchenware, and household accessories. However, she was also credited with introducing hot pants and micro minis to the fashion.