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Posts Tagged ‘miniskirts’

maryQ

Mary Quant. Illustration by Zoe Taylor. From Selvedge magazine.

Miss Mary Quant – how could I have imagined a career in fashion without Mary Quant? She created the miniskirt for heaven’s sake. Forgive me – where would Topshop be without her? She also created the idea of Saturday night dressing, making things ‘upstairs’ that literally came off the machine and into her King’s Road shop that day in order to serve her adoring fans’ weekend characters. 

Luella Bartley, English fashion designer and fashion journalist.

This quote is from the May/June 2011 issue of Selvedge magazine. The theme of this issue is all things Britannia and Ms. Bartley was asked to choose six women who reflect the British unique and quirky sense of style.

Mary Quant was on her list. Check back for some of the others in the weeks to come.

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Image courtesy of Reminisce Magazine.

It’s been 50 years since the miniskirt first hit the fashion scene and Reminisce magazine is celebrating.

Back in the late 1950s, British designer Mary Quant had been slowly raising the hemlines of her designs, inspired by the idea of easier movement for women. Over the years her customers kept saying, shorter, shorter, and Ms. Quant obliged. By the mid-1960s models such as Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton caught on, and the mini (aptly named by Ms. Quant after her favorite car, the Mini Cooper) became the international trend of the era.

The reinvented skirt brought along other fashion staples:

  • Pantyhose, which meant no more stockings, girdles or garters. (Suddenly, young woman were more comfortable and free to move about the world.)
  • Colored tights, now a wardrobe must
  • Low-heel and flat shoes
  • Boots!

Before long the miniskirt developed into much more than an article of clothing. It symbolized the many shifts happening for women at the time –  feminism, liberation, and rebellion.

I read all about the miniskirt in Reminisce, a bimonthly nostalgia magazine. In addition to historical articles (many about fashion), Reminisce is filled with personal essays and photos about everyday American life from the 1900s through the 1970s. Most of the content is written by readers and include stories about parents and grandparents, siblings and themselves. Stories about how they met their spouse, school day happenings, family road trips, and other interesting slices of life. I say Reminisce is a great resource for writers, history buffs, vintage fashion enthusiasts, collectors, and anyone who appreciates a good story.

One of my favorite recent articles is titled Job With A View written by Lynn Hartz, who worked as an airline stewardess in the 1960s. Ms. Hartz shares with readers what it was like to work in the industry when travel and flying were still exotic and glamorous. Included in the article are lots of photos of various airline uniforms, showing how they changed with the fashions over the decades (hemlines going from mid-calf to way above the knee.)

Check out Reminisce online.

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Gore Vidal in 1967

I don’t like the miniskirt. It makes me nervous unless she is young and pretty. The back of the leg is a dead giveaway, and then you start thinking of age and death and not of sex.

Gore Vidal in 1967. (Part of an interview with Women’s Wear Daily.) Mr. Vidal died in Los Angeles on July 31, 2012.

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