Modern Culture19 Jan 2011 08:29 pm
Simultaneously condemned and revered, the miniskirt exploded onto the “Swinging London” fashion scene in the mid 1960s, thanks to super chic designer Mary Quant. Quant began experimenting with shorter skirts in the late 1950s, and her efforts culminated in the creation of the miniskirt in 1965—one of the defining fashions of the decade.
By 1966 Mary Quant was producing short waist skimming mini dresses and skirts that were set 6 or 7 inches above the knee. It would not be fair to claim that she invented the mini skirt– she took the idea from the 1964 designs by Courrèges, which she made even shorter for her boutique Bazaar. However, she is rightly credited with popularizing the style, which did not take off until she directed her considerable marketing savvy to the task.
Before the 1960s, young women had been expected to dress in the style of their mothers, which was usually loosely based on Parisian couture. For example, as late as 1962, a Sears catalog portrayed mothers and daughters as “patchwork pals” who were overjoyed that they are wearing identical dresses. Looking back on the late 1950s, the English designer Sally Tuffin remarked, “There weren’t any clothes for young people at all. One just looked like their mother. An enduringly controversial symbol of the sexual revolution, the mini-skirt continues to evolve with the times and changing tastes.
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