1960s Fashion - Exhibit at the V&A Museum London - Page 2 - the Fashion Spot
 
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'Little Miss Muffet' Dress, Mary Quant (1934-), 1964

Photograph by John French

'Little Miss Muffet' Dress
Mary Quant (1934-)
1964
Wool crepe
Remade 1973
Lent by the Museum of Costume, Bath
Given by Mary Quant
Skirts above the knee first appeared in 1964, at the Courrèges 'Space Age' collection, but long skirts were also popular that year. Mary Quant's classic crepe dress with ruffles was made in several colours. The photograph (right) shows Patti Boyd wearing one, with the Rolling Stones.

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e Dress, Mary Quant (1934-), 1964

Photograph of Cate Phillips 1965

Dress
Mary Quant (1934-)
1964
Wool and silk
Purchased at Bazaar, Knightsbridge
Worn and lent by Cate Phillips
Quant designed a diffusion line, Ginger Group, but continued to use her own name for more exclusive designs. This elegant, formal dress is made in fine silk and wool with exquisite seam detailing. Cate Phillips wore it for many special occasions including trips to the opera at Glyndebourne.

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Raincoat, Mary Quant (1934-), 1963, PVC

Model Jackie Bowyer in 'Christopher Robin' raincoat by Mary Quant, October 1963. © Getty Images

Raincoat
Mary Quant (1934-)
1963
PVC
Remade 1973
Lent by the Museum of Costume, Bath
Given by Mary Quant

In 1963 Mary Quant showed a collection of her designs in Paris, the international capital of fashion, for the first time. The show included the famous 'Wet Collection', the result of Quant's experiments with PVC. It had taken two years of manufacturing trials to bond the seams of PVC garments successfully.

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Tabard Raincoat, Mary Quant (1934-), 1963

Tabard Raincoat
Mary Quant (1934-)
1963
PVC
Remade 1973
Lent by the Museum of Costume, Bath
Given by Mary Quant

In 1973 Mary Quant's contribution to British life was marked by a retrospective exhibition at the London Museum. The exhibition included many of her most revolutionary garments, some of them remade as facsimiles if the original ones could not be found. This raincoat was made for that 1973 exhibition.

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Dress 'Peachy', Mary Quant (1934-), 1960. Museum no. T.27-1997

Dress 'Peachy'
Mary Quant (1934-)
1960
Wool
Purchased at Bazaar, Knightsbridge
Museum no. T.27-1997
Worn and given by Mrs Margaret Stewart

By borrowing ideas from children's clothing, Mary Quant appealed to women's desire to appear young. Here she has transformed the frumpy school pinafore dress, using a traditional tweed in a vibrant colour. This favourite dress was known by its owner's husband as her 'Scarlet Runner'.

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Dress, Mary Quant (1934-), 1967. Museum no. T.353-1974.

Dress
Mary Quant (1934-)
1967
Wool jersey
Museum no. T.353-1974
Given by Mary Quant

The fluid cut, pliable fabric and functional front zip of this 'skater' dress suggest the speed and grace of the ice-rink. Its dropped waist and rounded collar also hint nostalgically at the 'garçon' styles of the 1920s.

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Dress and Knickerbockers, Mary Quant(1934), 1958-9. Museum no. T.103&B-1976

© Photograph by Duffy

Dress and Knickerbockers
Mary Quant (1934-)
1958-9
Wool and cotton
Remade 1973
Museum no. T.103&B-1976
Given by Mary Quant

Some of Mary Quant's early designs combined historic garments and traditional men's suitings, such as pin stripes and grey flannel, in subversive ways. In this design she re-works knickerbockers taken from Victorian underwear into a quirky daytime ensemble.

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Skirt and Jumper, Mary Quant (1934-), 1965. Museum no. T.110&A-1976.

Skirt and Jumper
Mary Quant (1934-)
1965
Natural hessian and synthetic fibres
Remade 1973
Museum no. T.110&A-1976
Given by Mary Quant

This outfit, with its belt adapted to become a halter-neck fastening, is a good example of Quant's practical ingenuity and surreal vision. It suggests school uniform, beatnik bohemianism and futuristic chic - all elements of Quant's creative repertoire.
View a rotating image of this dress.

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Retail Innovation
Knightsbridge 1961–1967


'A whole new world of retail sprang up.' Felicity Green
In the 1950s Knightsbridge was dominated by the stuffy department stores frequented by debutantes and their mothers. The first traditional store to cater specifically for the youth market was Woollands. In 1961, inspired by Mary Quant, it opened the '21 Shop' as an in-store boutique for young working women.
21 Shop sold clothes that were 'simple, zany, not for squares'. The buyer, 22-year-old Vanessa Denza, sought out new talent in the Royal College of Art and worked closely with young designers. Brilliant at turnover, she could get an order of 1000 dresses delivered within a week and sold a week later.
'Like a dam bursting' (to use Denza's phrase) other retailers soon followed her lead, with Young Jaeger, Harrods' Way In and Miss Selfridge establishing themselves as household names.

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Dress, Sylvia Ayton (1937-) and Zandra Rhodes (1940-), 1966.

Dress
Sylvia Ayton (1937-) and Zandra Rhodes (1940-)
1966
Paper
Lent by Sylvia Ayton MBE

Sylvia Ayton and Zandra Rhodes's innovative designs were taken up by boutiques and some of the more commercial stores. When Miss Selfridge opened in 1966, the buyer stocked their distinctive printed paper dresses. Customers loved them, but kept tearing the hems to see if they really were made out of paper - they were!

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Dress, John Bates (1938-), 1967.

Dress
John Bates (1938-)
1967
PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
Lent by Elizabeth Eggleston

John Bates was the designer of Diana Rigg's wardrobe for the television series The Avengers in 1965. His striking use of metallic, plastic and transparent fabrics, plus the eroticism of some of his work, attracted press attention and looked good on the screen. But trading under his company name Jean Varon, Bates also produced more commercial products for the key department stores.

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'Dress of the Year' Ensemble, Coat: Michele Vivier, Dress: Young Jaeger, Helmet: Simone Mirman, Tights: John Bates for Echo, Boots: Elliott, 1966, © Museum of Costume, Bath

'Dress of the Year' Ensemble
1966
Coat: Michele Vivier for V de V at Young Jaeger, PVC
Dress: Young Jaeger, rayon linen
Helmet: Simone Mirman, leather and plastic
Tights: John Bates for Echo, nylon
Boots: Elliott, PVC and leather
© Museum of Costume, Bath
Lent by the Museum of Costume, Bath

This futuristic outfit attracted much excitement from the press in 1966, the year that plastic became 'all the rage'. It shows the British ready-to-wear brand Jaeger interpreting the extreme ideas of avant-garde designers for a wider market. Shortly afterwards, softer retrospective styles became more dominant.
Selected by Ernestine Carter, fashion editor of the Sunday Times, for the Museum of Costume, Bath

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Dress, Gerald McCann (1931-), 1965.

Dress
Gerald McCann (1931-)
1965
Silk, cotton and linen
Lent by Elizabeth Eggleston

Gerald McCann studied at the Royal College of Art and, like other RCA graduates, played an influential role in the development of the UK fashion industry. He designed a dress similar to this one as a paper pattern for Butterick. Paper patterns meant that anyone could wear the latest fashions for the price of a couple of yards of fabric.

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Dress, Georgie of Group 30, 1967 © Museum of London


Dress
Georgie of Group 30
1967
Printed cotton
Retailed at Way In, Harrods, Knightsbridge (8 guineas)
Lent by the Museum of London
Worn and given by Julia Parker
© Museum of London

Harrods launched its Way In department in 1967, the year this vibrant cotton dress was designed. Other established shops, including Selfridges, also responded to the youth market by opening boutiques. These outlets - a store within a store - were informal and intimate, but they had the commercial advantages of a much bigger shop.

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Dress, Jeff Banks (1943-), About 1968. Museum no. T.95-1981

Dress
Jeff Banks (1943-)
About 1968
Synthetic jersey
Museum no. T.95-1981
Worn and given by Sandie Shaw
Photograph of Sandie Shaw


Jeff Banks trained at Camberwell School of Art and St Martin's College before opening his shop Clobber in Blackheath in 1964. The business grew rapidly and Banks retailed his designs in department stores across the UK and in New York. This dress was worn by his wife, singer Sandie Shaw. It combines a hippy Native American feel with a modern, short hemline.

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