I had the privilege to attend the press preview of the Mary Quant exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum. It’s the first retrospective of the iconic fashion designer Mary Quant exploring the years between 1955 and 1975 when Mary revolutionized the high street to create a new look for women. She was a powerful role model for the working woman.
Popularizing the miniskirts and hot pants to vibrant tights and make-up. At the exhibition you’ll find with over 200 garments and accessories, including unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive.
Fun fact: in June 2018 there was a call out to the public to track down rare Quant garments from wardrobes around the country. The museum received over 1000 responses, 35 responses from 30 individuals were selected alongside personal stories from the owners and 50 photographs of the women wearing their beloved Quant clothes.
In 1968, Quant summarised why she had got involved ‘with the make-up bit’: “now that the clothes were different the face was wrong”. Fashion had changed dramatically, but make-up had been left behind. This applied not only to the kind of products available, but also to the colours, packaging, advertising and the way in which cosmetics were sold. She recalled:
“Nobody had considered a colour other than red, pink or vaguely orange for lipstick or that there was colour other than blue and green and possibly purple for eye-shadow, so there was no flexibility and no fun with make-up.”
The cosmetics were promoted worldwide selling in 104 countries by 1973. The most spectacular means of driving sails abroad was the Mary Quant Beauty bus touring Europe, America and Venezuela.
From a make-up artist point of view with a passion for fashion this was one of my favorite parts of the exhibition. Back in the days she was one of the first (maybe the first) to introduce make-up from men called: the colouring box for men. How cool is that.
The exhibition Mary Quant is a go see for beauty and fashion fanatics and runs from the 6th of April 2019 – 16th of February 2020.