Iconic designer Mary Quant gets retrospective at Glasgow museum

Mary Quant outfits on display for a retrospective of the fashion designer's works in Glasgow
Mary Quant outfits on display for a retrospective of the fashion designer's works in Glasgow Copyright Ross MacDonald / Glasgowlife
Copyright Ross MacDonald / Glasgowlife
By Saskia O'Donoghue
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The exhibition, featuring over 100 designs from the inventor of the mini skirt, opens on 20 May at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in the Scottish city.


‘Mary Quant: Fashion Revolutionary’ is a major retrospective celebrating the life and work of the late, legendary British fashion designer. 

Garments on show will feature designs from 1955 - when Quant opened her boutique Bazaar on the King’s Road in London, through to items from the ‘Swinging Sixties’ period, up until 1975, when she famously revolutionised high street shopping, attracting a younger generation.

Ross MacDonald / Glasgowlife
One of Mary Quant's iconic 1960s fashion designs.Ross MacDonald / Glasgowlife

The exhibition will put on show more than 100 garments, accessories, cosmetics, and photographs drawn from the V&A museum collections, Quant’s own archive and a number of private collections.

Heather Tilbury Phillips, former Director of Mary Quant Limited and Advisor to the V&A on the exhibition, paid tribute to Quant, who was made a Dame in 2015 and died last month at the age of 93. She said, “I know how delighted Mary would have been that the exhibition is here at this wonderful venue in Glasgow”, adding, “We very much enjoyed several highly successful and inspirational trips to Scotland together visiting fabric and knitwear producers and leading retailers”.

Ross MacDonald / Glasgowlife
Heather Tilbury Phillips, former Director of Mary Quant Limited, poses in front of the exhibition's display.Ross MacDonald / Glasgowlife

Mary Quant is often credited with inventing the mini skirt - and the exhibition will explore the story of the iconic garment as well as offering visitors the chance to see her ‘Wet Collection’ of PVC rainwear and the dress she wore when receiving her OBE in 1966.

Exhibition goers can also expect to view the stories of women who responded to the V&A’s ‘We Want Quant’ campaign - a public call out which located rare garments created by Quant as well as memories and photographs of people who wore her clothes throughout her decades-long career.

‘Mary Quant: Fashion Revolutionary’ runs until 22 October 2023.

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