Jump to the content zone at the center

Mary Quant Retrospective Comes to Taiwan

World tour exhibition of renowned British fashion designer brings the Swinging Sixties to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Mary Quant Retrospective Comes to Taiwan_01
Mary Quant: Fashion Revolutionary at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), London
This special exhibition traces the professional career of renowned British fashion designer Mary Quant and her iconic works from 1955 to 1975. From the experimental clothing store Bazaar to the eponymous brand which led to the fashion for miniskirts, leggings and jumpers, Quant challenged the dominance of Parisian haute couture with a youthful and rebellious style that shaped a forward-looking and innovative image for post-war Britain. The exhibition features more than 120 original items of clothing, fashion dolls, cosmetics, photographs and fashion magazines that exemplify how Quant created and defined fashion for generations to come.
Quant was born in 1930 in suburban London. When the Second World War broke out in 1939, her family were forced to evacuate to the countryside 40 kilometers away. In her autobiography, Quant says she fell in love with sewing at a young age and loved simple, stylish apparel. When the war ended, she returned to London to complete her education, followed by a course in art education at Goldsmiths College. In 1955, Quant met her business partner and future husband, Alexander Plunkett Greene, and Archie McNair, a photographer and real estate developer, and together they leased a storefront on the corner of King’s Road and opened Bazaar, a boutique fashion store.
Quant turned British fashion and tradition on its head, challenging class and gender norms with the use of Victorian-era elements such as flounces, collars, bloomers and flamboyant prints, or exaggerating the cut or fabric of a gentleman’s suit or military uniform to create fun and playful women’s attire. She also brought back the boyish style of the 1920s flapper and promoted above-the-knee skirts, making the new “miniskirt” an international symbol of female emancipation. With its unique design language, Bazaar became the ultimate destination for working women in pursuit of modern fashion. In 1965, the Mary Quant brand took the world by storm and her lines became hot items across Europe, North America, and Australia. The following year, the brand was officially registered with its trademark daisy logo, and the name and image of Mary Quant were also exposed in global marketing campaigns.
Quant was also adept at incorporating other elements and transforming them into design inspiration, and she never shied away from experimenting with different materials and crossover collaboration with other brands. In her partnership with PVC manufacturer Alligator, for example, she created a line of raincoats that brought the brand to life with vibrant color. Her fearless pioneering spirit also led to a wide range of product possibilities, from accessories such as leggings in a variety of colors, plastic shoes and PVC bags, to working with the toy industry to create Daisy Dolls and miniature versions of Mary Quant clothing, home accessories and cosmetic collections. With an unrivalled marketing strategy and distinctive packaging design, Mary Quant went on to become one of the first and most diversified lifestyle brands.
Mary Quant Retrospective Comes to Taiwan_02
Mary Quant and hairstylist Vidal Sassoon, 1964
When planning the UK debut of the exhibition, the V&A solicited images and personal stories of Quant’s fashion items and received responses from a large number of women. Many of the garments, accessories and photographs in the exhibition were sourced from these women. In an era when the fight for gender equality seemed like an unstoppable force, Mary Quant gave women around the world a bold and independent style through her unconventional miniskirts and leggings. Not only was she instrumental in shaping the global fashion status Britain enjoys today, she also saw fashion as a means for conveying new attitudes, ideas and change, creating apparel that was both affordable and sophisticated, clothing that made its owners feel happy and independent. Most importantly, Quant foreshadowed the opportunities and freedoms that future generations would enjoy.
Exhibition Period | May 28 to August 28
Venue | D, E, F, Basement Exhibition Space, Taipei Fine Arts Museum
(No. 181, Sec. 3, Zhongshan North Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan)