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When we’re talking about iconic designers throughout history, many names come to mind. Coco Chanel, Yves St. Laurent, Gucci… but we can’t leave out one of the most influential of all time, the one and only Mary Quant.
Mary Quant was born in London, England on February 11, 1934. She began her career by designing hats and then in 1957, opened her first boutique on King’s Road named Bazaar. Her shop was an instant success and eventually exploded throughout Europe and the United States (Britannica, 2018).
The Mod Era was on the rise, branded by British youth who listened to loud music, spoke out for social causes and rode through the streets on motor scooters (Merriam-Webster, 2018). She contributed to this era in a way that shaped fashion history remarkably. Quant’s designs were targeted to the youth, offering a new and fresh outlook. The aspects that embodied her work became referred to as the “Chelsea Look”. Arguably, the most infamous design of them all was the miniskirt.
Shortening hemlines gave women a sense of liberation, which reflected the sociopolitical environment of the 1960s. The miniskirt made one of the biggest statements of all time – it was sexy, sensual and angered traditionalist parents everywhere (NY Daily News, 2018). The mini matched perfectly with the rebellious rock and roll music landscape. The rise of supermodels like Twiggy donning the Mod Look skyrocketed the popularity of this piece.
Whether it was made of leather or denim, this piece became a staple in almost every woman’s wardrobe at the time. Even now, half a century later, almost every girl has a mini hanging in their closet.
Fashion has an undeniable “pendulum swing” and so hemlines fluctuated throughout the decades to come. We saw long maxi skirts come back to the forefront in the 1970s, but they’ve slowly creeped back up and are just as popular in 2018 as they were when Quant first stepped on the scene. Minis are dominating the spring/summer runways as designers push boundaries with fabrics and silhouettes.
Whether you’re a Coco Chanel who claimed miniskirts were “just awful” upon their introduction, or a Twiggy that rocks the look on the daily, there is no denying the impact Mary Quant’s mini skirt made on fashion (NY Daily News, 2018)
The mini is here to stay.
Written by Lindsay Kalliokoski