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My Mary Quant dress is seeing the world and the Adventure goes on

The story starts on Friday, June 8th, 2018, when I read an article in the Times newspaper about a planned Mary Quant Exhibition at the V&A Museum in London. The V&A were asking for members of the public to let them know if they had any Mary Quant items.  I remembered that, somewhere, I had a Mary Quant dress but where was it?!!

I found the dress in the loft in a plastic bag and this discovery started a journey which is continuing to this day.

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I bought the dress in 1964 when I was 17 and still at school.  My parents gave me a clothing allowance which I saved up to buy the dress.  I found it in the Top Shop department in a Peter Robinson store in Sheffield, the nearest big city to where I lived.  A limited amount of Mary Quant, Ozzie Clark, and other 1960s designers’ garments were sold here and that’s where I spotted the dress!

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The dress is a Mary Quant Ginger Group ginger coloured lace item with 2 embroidered daisies on the front. It was short but not short enough and I talked my Mum into shortening it even more. My father was not happy about that but then he wasn’t happy about any of the clothes I wore!!

1964 was a time of change in fashion, music, magazines, and teenage social activities such as clubs and coffee bars and I embraced all of it!!

Back to the dress, I took photos of it and emailed them to the V&A Costume dept.  I eventually received a reply from the Curator, telling me that the dress was “very special” and she would like to see it.  I took it down to London and into the amazing “backrooms” of the V&A.  The Curator was thrilled with it and said that the dress would take pride of place in the Exhibition, how exciting!! I decided to donate it to the V&A, knowing that it would be very carefully stored.

The Exhibition was due to open on April 3rd, 2019 and I received an invitation to the Private Opening Event. However, on April 2nd, I was filmed at the V&A for a BBC Documentary series, “Secrets of the Museum”, and that was when I saw my dress for the first time in the Exhibition, a very emotional experience!! The film crew subsequently came to my home town and filmed me in my house, I felt very honoured!! The series was aired in Spring 2020 and I was in Episode 3.  Interviews and articles in the press followed.

The V&A Mary Quant Exhibition was a great success and, from London, it moved to Dundee, Scotland, where, again, I was invited to the opening event.  Sadly, this was cancelled due to covid but I did visit Dundee for a personal tour by the Curator and saw my dress in all it’s glory!!

From Dundee, the Exhibition went to Bendigo, Australia, and I received another invitation but covid got in the way yet again!!  Then on to Auckland, New Zealand, and from there to Taipei, Taiwan, where it is currently displayed. Tokyo is the next stop for this amazing Exhibition which is so exciting !!

My Mary Quant dress is seeing the world and the Adventure goes on!!


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