Her vibrant and iconic designs helped to transform London into the epicentre of the fashion world.
Mary Quant’s clothes are widely credited with helping to drag Britain from the drab, post-war era into the more carefree and liberated world of the 1960s, with young people at the forefront of cultural and social change.
And if The Beatles were the sound of the Swinging ’60s, then she was very much the visual accompaniment.
Yesterday an exhibition celebrating her most famous designs opened at Dundee’s V&A, the first since the lockdown forced the museum to close.
Among the first people to visit the exhibition yesterday was Heather Tilbury (Phillips) who was Quant’s global PR director from 1967-1980.
She said: “The colours of the fashions go so well with the colours in the exhibition room.
“It’s also marvellous that many of the exhibits are not in glass cases but open for everyone to view very closely.
“Mary gave so much power and strength to so many people. She wasn’t prepared to accept the world as it was given to her, the grey clothes and conservative tastes inherited from the wartime generation before.
“Mary used her designs, from her fashions to accessories, hats, make-up and homeware, to change the way people looked at the world and to let people create better lives for themselves.
“From flexible jersey dresses you could run and move and dance in, to home dressmaking patterns that opened up fashion to the masses, Mary totally revolutionised the world of fashion.
“It’s wonderful to see this amazing exhibition come to Dundee.
“Sadly Mary isn’t able to visit but I know she would be delighted at how well it works here in Dundee.”
The V&A is hopeful that some of the energetic and colourful work on show is the perfect way to pick up where the museum left off before lockdown.
Sophie McKinlay, director of programme, said: “We are delighted to celebrate Mary Quant opening at V&A Dundee with this inspiring and unique collaboration.
“Mary Quant is a pioneering designer who epitomises the energy and excitement of London in the 1960s.
“Through her confident, playful designs she helped change society for the better, giving women greater freedom to wear what they wanted and to choose clothes that looked and felt good.”
The exhibition is touted as the first international retrospective on the “disruptive” designer “who started a fashion revolution”.
Among the items on display are the pioneering “wet collection” PVC rainwear, a jute miniskirt, and other designs that were subversive for the time.
The exhibition also features the stories of women who made outfits from Mary Quant’s dressmaking patterns, gathered through V&A Dundee’s Sew Quant campaign.
It will also celebrate contemporary female designers who, like Mary Quant, are forging their own way through today’s rapidly-shifting fashion industry.
A spokesman for the museum added: “A number of measures are in place across the museum to ensure a safe, welcoming and inspiring experience for visitors and staff alike.
“All visitors now need to book free tickets to enter the museum, as part of the essential steps to keep visitors safe and to ensure physical distancing.”
The exhibition will run until January 17, with tickets on sale now at www.vam.ac.uk/dundee