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V&A: Mary Quant
Mary Quant and models at the Quant Afoot footwear collection, 1967Courtesy of Mary Quant at the V&A

A Mary Quant exhibition is coming to London

A public call-out has been issued to uncover lost designs and collect anecdotes to be included in the collection

It’s been announced that the V&A have been given unprecedented access to Dame Mary Quant’s archive to curate an international retrospective on the designer known for inventing the miniskirt. The first of its kind, the exhibition will focus on 20 years of the British icon’s legacy, when she revolutionised the high street with her fun and youthful designs.  

An instrumental figure in the 1960’s mod scene, Quant’s minimal and androgynous graphic look rejected the ceremonial styles of previous generations and played with gender stereotypes. Creating clothes that allowed women to move freely, she became a favourite amongst youths who wanted to wear dynamic dresses and stockings in vibrant colours.

Showcasing an array of garments alongside sketches, catwalk footage, and patterns, the exhibition brings together over 200 objects, the majority of which have never been on public display: from hotpants and Peter Pan-collared dresses to patterned hosiery and make-up.

Curated by the V&A’s Jenny Lister and Stephanie Wood, a public call-out has also been issued for rare and one-off designs, such as those sold between 1955 and 1960 in Quant’s iconic Bazaar boutiques, and early experimental garments in PVC, when the material was still a work-in-progress. Alongside the clothing, the museum is also collecting real life stories from people who are able to further explore how the the designer democratised fashion and empowered women through her unique, personal style.

And to round it all off, the retrospective will be accompanied by a new V&A publication, created to recognise the entrepreneurial magnificence of one of London’s most iconic designers.

The exhibition will run from 6 April 2019 until 8 March 2020. Tickets will go on sale in Autumn 2018 on https://www.vam.ac.uk