Swinging Sixties fashion queen Dame Mary Quant dead aged 93
Renowned as the queen of Britain’s ‘Swinging Sixties’ fashion, and by many as the inventor of the min-skirt, Dame Mary Quant has died aged 93.
Queen of Britain’s ‘Swinging Sixties’ fashion Dame Mary Quant has died aged 93.
A statement from her loved ones issued to the Press Association on Thursday (13.04.23) said the pioneering self-taught designer – hailed by many as the inventor of the mini-skirt – “died peacefully at home in Surrey, UK this morning”.
It added: “Dame Mary was one of the most internationally recognised fashion designers of the 20th century and an outstanding innovator of the Swinging Sixties.”
Dame Mary – also famed for her “skinny rib” sweaters and hot pants and her quote that “fashion is a tool to compete in life outside the home” – married Alexander Plunket Greene in 1957, and they had one son, before her husband’s death in 1990.
Born 11 February, 1930 in Blackheath, south east London, Mary was so driven by her wanting to advance feminism through fashion she came up with her so-called “Chelsea look” defined by then-controversially high hemlines, trousers for women and popularising the bob haircut pioneered by her hair stylist icon friend Vidal Sassoon.
Her small store Bazaar in the heart of the King’s Road became one of the hearts of London’s “Swinging Chelsea”, from which she grew her global fashion empire.
Mary’s partnership with Twiggy also propelled her looks to worldwide fame and her boutiques were filled with loud music and free drinks.
Her Ginger Group started in 1963 made fashion affordable for ordinary working women, and she famously said: “I didn’t have time to wait for women’s lib.”
She was appointed a Companion of Honour earlier this year in King Charles’ first honours list.
In 2015 she was made a dame for services to fashion and awarded an OBE in 1996.
It was estimated by the end of the Sixties almost 10 million women in the UK had at least one product from her range in their collections.
She studied illustration at Goldsmiths, where she met her future husband, the aristocrat Alexander, and graduated in 1953 with a diploma in art education, and began an apprenticeship at a high-end milliner, Erik of Brook Street.
Mary was a self-taught designer, attending evening classes on cutting and adjusting mass-market printed patterns to achieve the looks she was after.
She remained a pioneering fashion figure throughout the Seventies, when her business branched into producing bedlinen, carpets, paint wallpaper, swimwear and jewellery.
Dame Mary also introduced skin care for men, and published books promoting her make-up concepts, and in 1990 was given the Hall of Fame Award by the British Fashion Council.