Fashion: Two Great British designers

As part of our series showcasing the way in which London has influenced global fashion trends, we are putting the spotlight on two of the industry’s leading lights. We have chosen two female designers who each changed the way the world dressed; Mary Quant and Vivienne Westwood.

 Mary Quant

Mary Quant was the quintessential fashion designer for the 1960s.  However, the way in which she put miniskirts into the mainstream, and placed so much emphasis on the youth market, proved to be hugely significant and is still influencing the fashion market today.

Though she is a renowned London fashion designer, Mary Quant was Welsh. In 1955, the art school graduate opened Bazaar, a boutique on the King’s Road in London with the express purpose of plugging a gap in clothes designed for young people.

There she set about challenging the staid and rather stuffy fashions of the 1940s and 50s, liberating women with bright colours and vibrant styles.  Mary Quant and her influence remains in the 14 streets around Carnaby Street where you can find independent boutiques and global fashion and beauty brands.

Such was the popularity of this new fashion style, Mary opened a second branch of Bazaar in Knightsbridge in 1963, then created the Ginger Group, to craft and distribute her clothing to a mass audience. She went on to  develop a line of popular cosmetics too, including a trend setting “paint box” of makeup.

Vivienne Westwood

This British Dame and queen of punk fashion continues to impact on trends and styles worldwide.

She started her fashion career designing clothes for the iconic British punk band The Sex Pistols in the 1970s. Her use of safety pins, spikes, tartan and even bondage gear shocked the establishment but inspired countless designers that appeared in her wake.

Vivienne Westwood also likes to poke fun at the English aristocracy and some of the iconic British fashion trends. So she combines the everyday with the outlandish.

From an early start opening four London clothes stores, Vivienne Westwood expanded throughout the world. Her clothes line has also given rise to businesses creating accessories such as belts and shoes; a line of jewellery; and handbags and purses.

Even now, Vivienne Westwood is considered a fashion designer who can shock and thrill the industry in equal measure.

Yet, even royalty love her striking designs. Princess Eugenie chose Westwood designed gowns for her pre-wedding dinner, the actually wedding ceremony and then her after-wedding party too.

London fabrics and fashions on display

For examples of clothing and other items crafted by Mary Quant and Vivienne Westwood, take a trip to the V&A Museum, featured in our blog here.

Merino Hospitality does not use safety pins, spikes or neon colours in the interior designs of our London properties however; each property has been uniquely designed to provide a genuine feeling of ‘home’.

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