“The whole point of fashion is to make fashionable clothes available to everyone.”
While this may not be the biggest exhibition of the Victoria & Albert Museum, Mary Quant’s legacy and career are perfectly reflected in this two floor display. The V&A has the largest collection of Mary Quant in the entire world, however, the best part of the exhibition is the fact that most of these garments tell real stories, of real women who have worn the clothes and kept them up to this day.
Through out the entire exhibition the designer’s career is being showed and explained with some of her more iconic designs. From the infamous Bazaar shop in King’s Road to revolutionary fashion shows, more than 120 objects represent more than 20 years of a decisive moment in the fashion world.
It is hard to think that before Mary Quant there was no youth, girls either dressed like children or like their mothers. It was not until Quant with her eccentric designs when there started to be a more differentiated age gap between children and parents, some people would even relate her back to the invention of the miniskirt and fabrics such as vinyl.
Walking into the exhibition one feels like they are walking down a high street full of shops, if it was not because I knew I was in a museum, based on the designs I would have thought they were clothes from today’s fashion brands. Colourful clothes, crazy patterns, innovative fabrics, Mary Quant was definitely one of the more emblematic fashion designers of all times.
Clothes, lingerie, shoes, make up, even dolls dressed with Quant’s designs; the design of the display was organised to catch the visitor’s eyes with many different objects so that the journey through the designer’s career is more interactive as well as educational. As I walked around the room I could not help myself but hear the conversations that people had while looking at the clothes. Many visitors who were old enough to have seen the brand grow had a nostalgic tone in their voices and their eyes while remembering similar clothes they used to own and how good they felt while wearing them. It was not until I heard all those women talking about their experiences that I did not realise how huge of an impact Mary Quant had made on society, and specially women.
The exhibition, which opened its door on the 6th of April, will be welcoming visitors until the 16th of February of next year to show the public how even more than 60 years later, Mar Quant is still one of the most relevant fashion designers of the history of fashion.
Text: Carla Garcia Design:Lottie Griffiths Images: Lottie Griffiths