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Mary Quant, (born 11 February 1934 in Blackheath, London) is a British fashion designer who was instrumental in the mod fashion movement and one of the designers who took credit for inventing the miniskirthot pants. Born to Welsh parents, Quant went to Blackheath High School then studied illustration at Goldsmiths College before taking a career with a couture milliner. She is also famed for her work on pop art and in fashion.
In November 1955, she teamed up with her husband, Alexander Plunkett-Green, and a former solicitor, Archie McNair, to open a clothes shop on the Kings Road in London called Bazaar. Bazaar's best sellers were small white plastic collars to brighten up black dresses or t-shirts. Black stretch stockings were also popular.
Following the positive reaction to a pair of "mad house pyjamas" designed for the opening, and dissatisfied with the variety of clothes available to her, Quant decided to make her own range of clothing. Initially working solo, she was soon employing a handful of machinists, and by 1966 she was working with 18 different manufacturers concurrently.
Skirts had been getting shorter since about 1958 – a development Mary Quant considered to be practical and liberating, allowing women the ability to run for a bus. The miniskirt, which she is arguably most famous for, became one of the defining fashions of the 1960s. The miniskirt was developed separately by André Courrèges and John Bates, and there is disagreement as to who came up with the idea first. Like most fashion, the short- and ever-shorter skirt was evolving already among individual fashion-minded young women: The designers who adapted it just helped spread the style and, in Quant's case, gave it a name. Mary Quant named the miniskirt after her favorite make of car, the Mini. She loved the car so much, she had one designed especially for her.
In addition to the miniskirt, Mary Quant is often credited with inventing the coloured and patterned tights that tended to accompany the garment, although these are also attributed to Cristobal Balenciaga or John Bates.
In the late 1960s, Quant popularised hot pants. Through the 1970s and 1980s she concentrated on household goods and make-up, rather than just her clothing lines. At a talk at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2007 she claimed to have invented duvet covers.
In 1988, Mary Quant designed the interior of the Mini (1000) Designer (Originally dubbed the Mini Quant, this name was switched when popularity charts were set against having Quant's name on the car). It featured black and white striped seats with red trimming. The seatbelts were red, and the driving and passenger seats had Quant's signature on the upper left quadrant. The steering wheel had Quant's signature daisy and the bonnet badge had "Mary Quant" written over the signature name. The headlight housings, wheel arches, door handles and bumpers were all nimbus grey, rather than the more common chrome or black finishes. 2000 were released in the UK on 15 June 1988, a number were also released on to foreign markets; however, the numbers for these are hard to come by. The special edition Mini came in two body colours, jet black and diamond white.
She is also a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers, and winner of the Minerva Medal, the Society's highest award.
In 2000, she resigned as director of Mary Quant Ltd., her cosmetics company, after a Japanese buy-out. There are over 200 Mary Quant Colour shops in Japan, where Quant fashions continue to enjoy more popularity. (From Wikipedia)