Last year, while the workforce at the V&A was learning its essential retrospective of Mary Quant, which opens the following month, they released a #WeWantQuant campaign, attractive to the public for garments they might be inclined to mortgage or donate. “We have been crushed,” the show’s co-curator, Jenny Lister, remembers: “We had more than a thousand emails from women – a few buddies of Quant’s and members of the bohemian circle to which she belonged – however, maximum have been everyday girls.
Some former students, instructors, and nurses got in touch with us from as far as San Francisco and Australia.” One girl – and this makes Lister snort with delight – described taking her Quant to get dressed to Antarctica to wear on the south pole. Some have held on to their make-up (including the eyeshadows Quant’s husband and commercial enterprise accomplice, Alexander Plunket Greene, jauntily dubbed “jeepers peepers”). The collective message turned into that Quant’s clothes were more than just clothes; they were loved clues to the past. At the stop, the museum could only make space for the services of 30 girls (four of whom are interviewed underneath). But for all people who lived through the Quant generation, this display may be a shape-of-time journey – again to the 60s and 70s and the best of surnames (that Q had kudos) and the easy daisy logo that stored on blossoming.
In a new foreword to her first autobiography, Quant, with the aid of Quant (1966), Mary Quant recalls: “Life becomes a whizz! It turned into such amusing and abruptly superb no matter, or possibly because of its intensity… we were so lucky with our widespread good fortune and timing. We partied too – there were no barriers.” Her written fashion – ingenue enthusiasm – matched her garments. For Quant, the style becomes “a game.” Her son, Orlando (writing In the V&A’s catalog), recognizes the fun his dad and mom had when they met as artwork college students at Goldsmiths.