Iconic 60’s designer raves about the Duchess Of Cambridge’s style
Mary Quant has forever been immortalised as a fashion icon with her invention of the mini skirt and classic swinging sixties style. When asked in a recent interview about Kate Middleton’s fashion sense she stated; “I am a very big admirer of the Duchess of Cambridge, I like her fondness for ‘a good, light navy blue’ and ability to wear a hat ‘at the right angle’.‘She has the good sense to stay in marvellous shape and that is wonderful. I am afraid that if you are going to be photographed in fashion, you have to be slim. She does all that and enjoys it and wears things with a kind of flourish and a gusto which makes other people feel happy to see it. The DailyMail also reported ‘She is perfect, we certainly have the right one here. There is nothing boring about her. You know by the way she puts her hat on that she is not a boring woman.” In 1966 Quant received her OBE for her contribution to the fashion industry. She arrived at Buckingham Palace, to accept the honour from the Queen,in a mini skirt and cut-away gloves.
Quant came from an art-school background and Middleton finished with a 2.1 degree in History of Art from St Andrews. Mary had been making her own clothes since the late 50’s before her breakthrough mini skirt took the world by storm. She was a contemporary of her clients, rather than of an older generation and embraced youth culture in a way previously untapped. Convinced that fashion needed to be affordable to be accessible to the young, she opened her first retail boutique, “Bazaar”, on the Kings Road in 1955. Her ‘mod’ era and the ‘Chelsea Look.’ were developed over the next decade. In her desire to showcase the new and interesting at Bazaar”, she decided that it would have to be stocked with clothes made to her designs. Knee-high, white, patent plastic, lace up boots, and tight, skinny rib sweaters in stripes and bold checks, became the zeitgeist “London Look” and were the result of her vision. Along with cutting edge fashion shows and unusual window displays, she secured her reputation through the production of new and exciting clothing, sold in affordable trendy boutiques, for the new youth market. England was swinging like a pendulum; it was all Twiggy and The Beatles; the dawn of a bright new mad, mod world. A second Bazaar opened in Knightsbridge in 1961 and by 1963 Quant was exporting to the USA, mass-producing clothes to keep up with the demand. This is how the Mary Quant worldwide brand was born.The mid sixties was the height of her fame, when she created the micro-mini and the ‘paint box’ make-up of 1966, she added shiny, plastic raincoats and small grey pinafore dresses that summed up the 60’s fashion era. Quant expanded her brand further into a range of original patterned tights, a range of cosmetics and other fashion accessories. At 77 she has been considered the most important British fashion designer for decades and should be made a Dame in the future to honour this contribution to her industry.