Quant by Quant

Posted June 01 2012

Renowned for her invention of the mini skirt, Quant was a revolutionist in many other ways too. It all began with her desire to buy men´s fabrics from Harrods, to then make clothes for women. As an art student, Quant was tired of the lack in choice of colours on the makeup market – so she made her own using watercolour brushes and bright coloured crayons. Later Mary went on to introduce her cosmetic line offering no less than 101 different shades of lipstick. Bright coloured makeup became fashionable. During the 1960s, tights were only available to be made through theatrical manufacturers, but Mary knew they were essential for any woman wanting to wear a mini skirt. She pushed for them to become more widely available, and they soon did.

During an evening talk held at the Victoria & Albert museum in March 2012, Mary Quant spoke of how she could get inspired by almost anything - from the stripes and fabric of a butchers uniform, to the plastic collars sold for maids to change daily. We found this image taken by East End photographer Eric Swayne showing the Butchers Collection Mary designed from that striped fabric she randomly came across in the window of a uniform shop in Soho. 

Butcher Collection designed by Mary Quant   


Butcher´s Collection designed by Mary Quant

Quant by Quant. Mary´s autobiography published in 1966


Mary Quant with her Vidal Sassoon Crop - photographed by David Bailey

As soon as Quant heard about Sassoon, she wanted him to cut her hair. Today we have been remembering his legacy - creator of the Quant cut and the hairdresser who freed women from the days of back combing and rollers - Sassoon was described as “the only person able to cut hair and make it stay in place” (Quant). The image above was photographed by David Bailey who Mary admitted was “quite intimidating” to pose for.