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A brief (or should that be “mini”) history of fashion: The 1960s

RIP to British fashion designer Dame Mary Quant who died on 13 April, aged 93.

From a hatmaker's apprentice to the woman who change the way we dress: Quant's designs rebelled against traditional fashion, defined a generation and caused a “youthquake”. She basically WAS 1960s fashion.

After the super-conservative 1950s, there was a true fashion revolution in the 60s.

This was the decade that brought us the female tuxedo jacket (thank you, Yves Saint Laurent) and psychedelic hippie fashion. It brought us “Space Age” influences and the black turtlenecks and trousers of the artsy beatnik crowd. And, of course, it brought us the mod look (think sleeveless shift dresses in blocks of bold colours, paired with patterned tights and go-go boots).


London became the epicentre of fashion, and the queen of London mod fashion was Mary Quant. There was simply nowhere cooler or more influential than Bazaar, the club-like boutique that she opened when she was just 21 years old.

A moment for the Miniskirt

And there was nowhere more provocative than the windows of Bazaar when she displayed something in them for the first time: the miniskirt.

The mini’s power—and danger - was not just in its revealing design, but in what it symbolized: youth and sexual liberation. It was also the most scandalous fashion item of the 60s, and provoked “the establishment” so much that men in bowler hats would bash their umbrellas on Bazaar's windows and shout "immoral!" and "disgusting!". But the drama surrounding the miniskirt eventually died down, being now a wardrobe staple that every woman should possess.

While many people say that Mary Quant pioneered the miniskirt, others say that honour actually goes to French couturier, André Courrèges. Quant herself once said that: “It wasn’t me or Courrèges who invented the miniskirt anyway. It was the girls in the street who did it.”

Regardless, there’s no doubt that it was Quant who made hemlines shorter and shorter. They got outrageously fashionable and the "miniskirt" was born! Fun fact: The cult-mini was actually named after Quant's favourite car, the Mini Cooper. Guess we're just lucky she didn't drive a Volvo.

Cutting-edge designs that let people rethink fashion

Her signature bob was as cutting-edged as her bold designs. Mary Quant was simply one of the most iconic designers of the 1960s, who changed the way women dressed.

“She revolutionised fashion and was a brilliant female entrepreneur," fellow ’60s fashion icon Twiggy wrote on Instagram following her death. "The 1960s would have never been the same without her.”

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Love the #AF team,

See you on the runway!

Contributor: Ginny C



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