LONDON — Mary Quant, the queen of Mod known for popularizing the miniskirt, is to be the focus of a show at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London next year.
The retrospective, which is set to open in April 2019 and will run until March 2020, will be the first international exhibition about the designer in 50 years, and will spotlight her work between 1955 and 1975.
The museum is also making an open call to the public for one-off designs from Quant’s Bazaar boutique, pieces from her 1963 “Wet” collection and clothes made by the public with the designer’s 1964 Butterick patterns.
The exhibition aims to highlight the 88-year-old Quant’s experimental approach and Mod aesthetic, which was instrumental in shaping the Swinging Sixties scene.
“She freed women from rules and regulations and from dressing like their mothers. This long-overdue exhibition will show how Mary made high fashion affordable, and how her youthful, revolutionary clothes made British street style the global influence it remains today,” said Jenny Lister, curator of the exhibition.
Pieces will be drawn from the V&A archives, Quant’s personal collection and loans from the public. The retrospective will showcase more than 200 objects, including films, sketches, photographs and personal testimonies, illustrating the designer’s rise to fame.
“Friends have been extremely generous in loaning and in many cases donating garments and accessories to the V&A, which they have lovingly cherished for many years, so it will be fascinating to see what else will emerge,” said Quant, who was given the title of Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 2015.
Lister added that the museum wants to hear from women “who wore Mary’s radical designs and experienced the appeal of the Mary Quant brand first-hand. To help us tell these incredible stories, we are asking people to check attics, cupboards, as well as family photo albums for the chance to feature in our exhibition.”