gilhoolie gets out

Mary Quant at the V&A

gilhoolie is definitely getting out lots this month which is great for the soul! I think now my kids are older and more independent I’m realising I have a lot more freedom to go into London for inspiration; it’s only 30 minutes away after all and there’s so much to see and do on my doorstep, it just takes a bit more effort and planning.

I can’t say I know much about fashion designers from the 60s, or fashion designers full stop really but I’m definitely interested in textiles and clothes so I thought the Mary Quant exhibition at the V&A was worth a trip. (Thanks for the recommendation Sam!) It makes a change from all those hours I’ve spent with two small boys in car, tank and aeroplane museums (anyone with boys will empathise).

The ticket said to allow an hour but we were so absorbed in the display that nearly 2 hours passed in a flash. We wandered around looking at the many beautifully dressed mannequins in original outfits (sometimes with a photo of the owner) and black and white photos and films telling the story of Mary Quant. From her beginnings opening a small boutique ‘Bazaar’ on the Kings Road in Chelsea in 1955, to mass production all over the world. I loved the V&A curation of the display and the way it described the story of the Mary Quant brand. It must’ve been so exciting to be a young woman in the 60s, empowered by this new bold fashion.

I also didn’t realise Mary Quant had a line in makeup – below is a cartoon strip that was published to help girls see what they should be buying to add to their makeup collection and keep up with trends. Love this!

Mary Quant makeup
My favourite Mary Quant Dress – ‘Alice’

This dress ‘Alice’ was bought at the Chicago department store Marshall Field in 1971. It is made out of co-ordinated fine wool prints from Liberty and retailed for around Β£20 (about Β£150 today). I really like the cut, the sleeves and the length of this one. There were so many dresses I could see myself wearing today and ‘Alice’ is one of them.

Below are some of the shots I took on our visit. The exhibition finishes in a couple of weeks, so hurry if you want to take a look. You can read more ‘gilhoolie gets out’ blog posts here or subscribe to the blog by clicking the follow button on the right. Thanks for reading!

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