Mary Quant, British Fashion Revolutionary, Dies at 93

Known as the mother of the miniskirt, clad in her signature play clothes and boots, with huge painted eyes, fake freckles and a bob, she epitomised London’s Swinging Sixties.

Mary Quant at work in London in 1963. Her boutique in the heart of Chelsea was filled with “a bouillabaisse of clothes and accessories.”Credit…Associated Press

By guest author Penelope Green from the New York Times. Amanda Holpuch contributed reporting.

April 13, 2023

Mary Quant, the British designer who revolutionised fashion and epitomised the style of the Swinging Sixties, a playful, youthful ethos that sprang from the streets, not a Paris atelier, died on Thursday at her home in Surrey, in southern England. Known as the mother of the miniskirt, she was 93.

Her family announced the death in a statement.

England was emerging from its postwar privations when, in 1955, Ms. Quant and her aristocratic boyfriend, Alexander Plunket Greene, opened a boutique called Bazaar on London’s King’s Road, in the heart of Chelsea. Ms. Quant filled it with the outfits that she and her bohemian friends were wearing, “a bouillabaisse of clothes and accessories,” as she wrote in an autobiography, “Quant by Quant” (1966) — short flared skirts and pinafores, knee socks and tights, funky jewelry and berets in all colors.

Young women at the time were turning their backs on the corseted shapes of their mothers, with their nipped waists and ship’s-prow chests — the shape of Dior, which had dominated since 1947. They disdained the uniform of the establishment — the signifiers of class and age telegraphed by the lacquered helmets of hair, the twin sets and heels, and the matchy-matchy accessories — the model for which was typically in her 30s, not a young gamine like Ms. Quant.