Mary Quant

Image of Mary Quant
Release Date: 
May 28, 2019
V & A Publishing
Reviewed by: 

What is quite extraordinary about Mary Quant is that it explores and examines the fashion tsunami she created in the ’60s. More importantly the book exposes a lesson in brand building and the saga of a triumvirate of players who created and systematically built a legacy and legend known as Mary Quant; the triumvirate being Mary, her husband, Alexander Plunkett Greene, and Archie McNair (best friend to both). Each one performed an integral, essential, and specific role in the creation of the brand. Mary obviously was the creative, Alexander's prowess stemmed from his social connections and wizardry at Public Relations, and Archie for his legal and unrivaled business acumen.

“Quant changed the fashion system, overturning the dominance of Paris couturiers and transforming young women just like her into the new leaders of style,” writes Tristram Hunt Director of V&A.

Most readers will only associate the designer with the mini skirt and the youth quake of that era, but Mary Quant, the designer, the business, and the brand, was so much more. She was an early groundbreaking leader of the fashion world in so many ways that have gone unnoticed and unrecognized by most fashionphiles as well fashion historians. Very few will have known just how prescient Ms. Quant was or how brilliantly savvy she was when it came to everything from models, photographers, diversity, price, and just about anything that most of us assume has only been addressed in the last decade or two.

“Mary Quant created something much bigger than a brand. She created a movement. A movement of freedom, confidence fun and optimism. A movement of hope and liberation,” writes Kevin Roberts, former Quant employee and later Chairman and CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi.

Without a doubt, Mary Quant is a must read for multiple reasons, but what is essential is not to be dismissive of her deceptively simple style. Many of the images you see might cause you to think “well what’s so great about that?” But here is where context becomes crucial in evaluating her almost radical mindset and foresight as a designer and business woman. Another point to keep in mind is that this book serves as a catalog for the Mary Quant exhibit, which is presently running at the V&A and ends in March of 2020, hence there is much more detail than the usual fashion  tome.

This seasoned fashion reader was totally absorbed and constantly amazed by the sixth sense of the designer as well as those who she employed and partnered with; if anything this is an inspiring true life fashion fairy tale.