Mary Quant – Part 1

Why is it then when you are desperately searching for something, you come across items you have not seen for years and then end up getting distracted by them!

This happened to me just last week – I found my Quant by Quant book, my edition is published in 1967.  I cannot believe one of my favourite books that I own, is now 45 years old.  I purchased this book about 20 years ago.  I used to skive school with my best friend Nikki and occasionally we would head into London town.  I can still remember being in an old book shop and discovering this diamond – I was a huge fan of Mary Quant.  If my memory serves me right, I think back then her shop was on Neal Street in Covent Garden right next door to Red or Dead.

For those of you not so familiar with Mary Quant OBE, she was born 11th February 1934, and at age 77 she is retired living in Britian.  She was not only a huge British Fashion Designer she is an icon to our Fashion heritage, best known for introducing the mini skirt to British fashion in the 60’s.  She opened a controversal boutique in the 60’s called Bazaar on King’s Road with her husband Alexander Plunkett-Green – her window displays caused quite a stir with the older generation.  Whilst I’m pleased to see that her products are still available, it does sadden me that this is now owned by a Japanese firm.

Her logo was quite simply, but yet modern for the time that she introduced it.

Mary was all about breaking the rules and offering young women a chance to explore their own creativity by introducing colour & design into every day clothes – a break away from “dressing like your mother”.

In her book, Mary says:
“As far back as I can remember, I loved sewing.  And I was always tremendously interested in what people wore.  As a child, it used to worry me why grown-ups always insisted on wearing gloves.  I couldn’t understand why they always put on high heels for dancing and made such a thing of matching shoes and handbag.

I think one of my current fashion hates grew out of this.  I can’t bear over-accessorization…a white hat worn with white gloves, white shoes and a white umbrella.  I used to be told, over and over again, that a redhead – as I was then – should always wear green.  I used to ask why? No one ever gave me a satisfactory answer.  Eventually I decided that such rules were totally irrelevant to modern-day living.  Rules are invented for lazy people who don’t want to think for themselves.”

She later goes on to about how fashion plays a huge part in a woman’s confidence.  Here is another extract from her book about how clothes are important to a woman.

“To me a fashionable woman is one who is ahead of the current rage.  She must have a personal style, be aware of it and wear those clothes that emphasize it.  A fashionable woman wears clothes; the clothes don’t wear her.  Clothes are tremendously important.  A woman knows instinctively if she is wearing the right thing.  If she is, she immediately becomes poised, more confident, more in control of the situation.”

I’m a firm believer in this too.  Especially clothes for work; how you look plays a part in how you feel, if you look good, you feel great and this can build confidence for a woman.

She goes on to say,

“Clothes should live, breathe, and move with the wearer.  I hope I never lose track of their purpose…to dress a woman and make her look her best.  There is nothing so extravagant as buying something that no one notices.  I am absolutely against what I call negative clothes…the sort that do nothing, seem nothing,and sometimes cost a lot of money.

Fashion should be important to woman.  If she thinks about the appearance of her house, her husband’s car, her friends, the theatre, then she must think about her clothes.”

Part 2 will follow, I’ve found some great extracts from the book about setting up shop – for those of you who love watching the Apprentice or a fan of Mary Portas – I think you will find these really interesting.  To be continued…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *