Dame Mary Quant | Designer who helped shape the swinging 60s dies at 93

Dame Mary Quant, the pioneering fashion designer credited with popularising the mini-skirt, has died at the age of 93.

mary quant

Her family made a statement to the PA news agency, saying Quant “died peacefully at home in Surrey, UK this morning”.

The statement described her as “one of the most internationally recognised fashion designers of the 20th Century and an outstanding innovator”.

“She opened her first shop Bazaar in the Kings Road in 1955 and her far-sighted and creative talents quickly established a unique contribution to British fashion.”

mary quant

November 1965: Chelsea fashion designer and make-up manufacturer Mary Quant. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Quant was one of fashion’s most influential and important figures during the 1960s, bringing the mini-skirt to the masses, along with other sleek, vibrant designs.  

Born on 11 February 1930 in South East London, Quant was the daughter of two Welsh school teachers. She studied art education at Goldsmiths College, where she met Alexander Plunket-Greene. The pair married and Plunket-Greene helped establish Quant’s fashion brand.

In 1955, Quant opened the boutique Bazaar on Chelsea’s Kings Road. The area became a hub of Swinging London, with Bazaar at its heart. 

Best known for the creation of the mini-skirt and hot pants, the former’s skirt design was named after Quant’s favourite car. 

“It was the girls on King’s Road who invented the mini. I was making clothes which would let you run and dance and we would make them the length the customer wanted.

“I wore them very short and the customers would say, ‘shorter, shorter’.”

Mary Quant and her husband Alexander Plunkett Greene

Circa 1965: Dress designer Mary Quant and her husband Alexander Plunkett-Greene at their home. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Quant also helped popularise the bob-haircut and created waterproof mascara.

In a tribute responding to the news, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum said: “It’s impossible to overstate Quant’s contribution to fashion. She represented the joyful freedom of 1960s fashion, and provided a new role model for young women.

“Fashion today owes so much to her trailblazing vision.”

Alexandra Shulman, the former editor of Vogue, was another to take to social media with a glowing tribute. She wrote: “RIP Dame Mary Quant. A leader of fashion but also in female entrepreneurship – a visionary who was much more than a great haircut.”

mary quant bazaar chelsea

British fashion designer Mary Quant’s shop, Bazaar, on King’s Road, Chelsea, London, UK, 25th August 1966. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The fashion director of the International New York Times, Vanessa Friedman, said: “RIP Mary Quant, who freed the female leg. We owe you.”

Dame Mary was one of the most influential figures in the fashion scene of the 1960s and is credited with making fashion accessible to the masses with her sleek, streamlined and vibrant designs.

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