How to collect vintage Mary Quant

July 25, 2020
How To Spot An Authentic Mary Quant Dress
The Bazaar boutique was home to many beautiful trendy designs by Mary Quant- a women who pioneered a lot of the iconic looks during the sixties. She made mini skirts, hot pants, coloured tights and even duvets popular. 
To get people interested, she’d turn the music up loud, offer free drinks and make witty little window displays. She sounds like my kind of woman.
Quickly, Bazaar became the place to be seen in London and her clothes were the things to be seen in. She was a trendsetter and an icon, and she still is today.
But since she has sold the rights to her brand in 2000, there’s been a lot of confusion about what is an original and what is a reproduction.  Here’s a few things to look about for when you’re trying to find a 1960s Mary Quant dress:

How To Spot

Authentic Mary Quant

Labels – Mary Quant had two labels in the sixties. One is marked with her name or you might come across “The G!nger Group” which was her more affordable line of clothes.

Mary Quant Dress Original
The Mary Quant Look – Unlike Biba who was inspired by the past, Mary found influence in the present. Mary was influenced by Mods and dancers. She loved the city-dwelling beatniks and the youthful glow that began bursting from the streets during the 60s. It was her customers who inspired her. The active, interesting and on trend teenagers that would wander down the streets of Chelsea looking for a cute dress and a happening to wear it to.  
Mary Quant Dress Mini Original

Fabrics – Mary Quant’s most famous look was her jersey dresses. It was the perfect material to use for chilly England – thick and stretchy. Her dresses often came in a shift style or with a drop down waist. She also began to make onesies, hot pants and tops in the fabric.

Later on down the line, she began to have fun with PVC and made a wet look collection. Shoes and coats were made from PVC and had a modern, fururistic look about them that she adored. She even made a dress out of paper (you probably wouldn’t find that on the vintage market today though).

How To Find A Mary Quant Dress

Shapes – White dagger collars were her thing as well as a ring pull zip down the front of a dress. She also helped to make trousers fashionable for women including dungarees. Though she made many trousers, they’ve become a rare find on the vintage circuit.

One of my favourite Mary Quant pieces was a skinny rib sweater inspired by the laid back look of the beatniks. She loved androdgony and nothing said that more than a plain black sweater inspired by menswear.

How To Find A Mary Quant Dress

Colours – Mary loved standing out so her choice of colours were obvious. Big bold colours like pillar box red, traffic cone yellow and football pitch green. She’d occasionally use stripes and other patterns but most of her clothes were block colours.

How To Find A Mary Quant Dress

The Quant Girl – Who didn’t wear a Mary Quant dress? You can find every 60s face in a Mary Quant ensemble including Jean Shrimpton, Twiggy and Patti Boyd. My favourite look of all though, has to be Audrey Hepburn in ‘Two For The Road’.

For More Looks – I highly recommend studying books, and flicking through Pinterest boards dedicated to Mary Quant to get familiar with her pieces. In no time you’ll be able to spot one, even if the tag has been cut off.

P.S. I took all these photos at the V&A exhibition in London this year.

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