V&A Dundee
Past Exhibition

Mary Quant

Ran from 27 August 2020 to 24 December 2020

Iconic. Feel good. Fashion revolutionary.

Mary Quant disrupted the fashion establishment, connecting with an energised, youthful audience looking for something fresh and fun. From rising hemlines to androgynous shapes and styling, Quant captured the zeitgeist of the moment.

This exhibition was the first international retrospective on the iconic British designer who started a fashion revolution that a whole generation wanted to take part in.

Quant designed clothes that made people feel good, making quality designer fashion affordable through her playful brand, signified by the trademark daisy.

Quant encouraged a new age of feminism, inspiring young women to rebel against the traditional clothing worn by their mothers and grandmothers. Her shop Bazaar opened in 1955, the year after World War Two food rationing ended, her playful designs a colourful reaction against the drab austerity of post-war London.

Quant is famous for popularising the miniskirt, but her designs offered many different versions of femininity, challenging the conventional gender stereotypes of post-war Britain.

Key objects featured within the exhibition included the pioneering ‘Wet Collection’ PVC rainwear, a jute miniskirt, and designs that playfully subverted menswear – at a time when women were still banned from wearing trousers in formal settings such as restaurants.

Past Event

Sponsored by

Exhibition Trailer

Exhibition Highlights

'Footer' jersey shift dress, 1967 (Fashion Museum, Bath)

Waistcoat and tie dress, 1962 (V&A South Kensington)

Mary Quant Crayons, 1973 (Museum of London)

Dress with epaulettes and tie, 1966 (V&A South Kensington)

Towelling loungewear, 1967 (Mary Quant Archive)

Mary Quant and Alexander Plunket Greene by John Cowan, 1960 (John Cowan Archive)

Photograph of two models in Mary Quant, Spring 1973

Jill Kennington wearing white PVC rain tunic and hat (courtesy of Fashion Museum Bath/Image)

"Is this just another fad?" advert (courtesy of the Advertising Archives)