An international exhibition exploring the work of legendary fashion designer Mary Quant will open at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki this summer. From the V&A Museum in London, Mary Quant will look at the fashion icon who harnessed the youthful spirit of the sixties and embraced new mass-production techniques to create a new look for modern women.
Auckland Art Gallery director Kirsten Lacy is excited to share the fashion revolutionary and youthquake of the 1960s with New Zealanders through an exhibition that cleverly explores Quant’s transformative effect on the fashion scene.
“Mary Quant was all about revolution. She dressed the liberated woman with her fun, youthful and creative designs. Quant made designer fashion affordable for working women, overturning the dominance of luxury couture from Paris,” said Lacy.
Famously modelled by Twiggy, Grace Coddington and more, Mary Quant’s clothes personified the energy and fun of swinging London, and Quant became a powerful role model for the working woman. Challenging conventions, she is known as the face of the miniskirt and popularised colourful tights and tailored trousers – encouraging a new age of feminism.
Inspiring young women to rebel against traditional dress worn by their mothers and grandmothers, Quant turned a tiny boutique on the King’s Road, London, into a wholesale brand available in department stores across the UK, US, Europe and Australia. Quant’s success soon hit New Zealand, where her designs made fashion less exclusive and more accessible to a new generation.
“We’re delighted that the Mary Quant exhibition is opening at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. We hope that it will appeal to everyone, not just fashion fans. The Quant brand is about so much more than clothes, representing humour, self-empowerment, and redefining rules and conventions,” said the V&A’s Jenny Lister and Stephanie Wood, co-curators of Mary Quant.
“It is wonderful to celebrate with New Zealanders the trailblazing career of a woman who was, and remains, the ultimate influencer of her time. With a revolutionary approach to branding and marketing, as the face of her brand, with cohesive packaging and her instantly recognisable daisy logo, Mary Quant completely anticipated the way that we consume fashion today.”
Receiving unprecedented access to Dame Mary Quant’s Archive and drawing on the V&A’s extensive fashion holdings, including the largest public collection of Quant garments in the world, the show will bring together over 120 garments plus accessories, cosmetics, sketches, and photographs.