Mini Skirt short info


Which model boosted the mini's image by wearing one at the Melbourne Cup in 1965?

Jean Shrimpton's mini caused many raised eyebrows among Melbourne's establishment.

An exhibition of Australian labels through the 1960s takes a look at not just what we wore, but how cultural change affected our fashion choices, reports Jan Phyland.

It's reassuring to know even the experts sometimes get it wrong. When Australian fashion icons Maggie Tabberer and Lil Whiteman (of Melbourne's Le Louvre fame) first spied the mini-dress in the 1960s, both declared it wouldn't last.

In her book Parade: The story of fashion in Australia, author Alexandra Joel says that in 1965, when British model Jean Shrimpton attended Derby Day in Melbourne wearing a simple shift dress that finished above her knees, the fashion industry went into meltdown. Tabberer declared at the time: "The mini will never happen," and Whiteman stated: "The knee is nothing but a moveable joint and should not be shown." How wrong they were.

Not only was the mini successful (so much so that Australian women were reticent to move on from the trend), the style is one of the most enduring images of fashion in the 1960s.

The mini, midi, pantyhose, wide ties, paisley shirts, bell-bottom pants, op art dresses, Lurex, paisley, peace and Prue Acton are all words that symbolise the '60s. Just how they were interpreted in fashion terms can be seen in a new exhibition to open at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia on February 11, titled Flair: From Salon to Boutique (Australian Fashion Labels Through the 1960s).


Pictures: vogue


What was Mary Quant's clothes shop in King's Road, London called?

Mary Quant, designer of the mini skirt, opened her boutique here

Location: Markham House, King's Road, Chelsea, sw3 4uu

Description: In October 1955, she teamed up with her husband, Alexander Plunkett-Greene, and an accountant, Archie McNair, to open a clothes shop on the Kings Road in London called Bazaar.

Greene had inherited 5,000 pounds on his 21st birthday, and the three decided to go into business together. They rented Markham House, a three-story building here in London's artist district of Chelsea.

They opened a boutique on the first floor and a restaurant in the basement. They called the boutique Bazaar. Its owners knew little about the business beyond Quant's fashion philosophy: I can't bear over-accessorization... a white hat worn with white gloves, white shoes and a white umbrella, she declared in Quant by Quant. Rules are invented for lazy people who don't want to think for themselves.

True to her philosophy, Quant searched for the clothes she herself wanted to wear, selling miniskirts, funky dresses, bright tights and bras called Booby Traps to young people.

The shop capitalized on the buying power of baby boomers, those born during the sharp increase in birthrate following the end of World War II, who were beginning to grow into teenagers.

Naive about the mechanics of running a retail business, Quant and her partners sold their wares with a markup much smaller than any nearby store, without realizing they were actually taking a loss on many items. It was no wonder we did such a roaring trade the moment we opened, she later wrote. The shop was constantly stripped bare--sometimes we hardly had enough to dress the window--because we never bought enough of anything.

Quant quickly discovered that manufacturers weren't making the kinds of clothes she wanted to sell, so she set up her own manufacturing outfit in her apartment, hiring a dressmaker to come during the day and help. Quant herself sewed dresses at night to sell the next day in the shop. I had to sell one day's output before I had the money to go out and buy more material, she recalled, noting that at first, I didn't think of myself as a designer. I just knew that I wanted to concentrate on finding the right clothes for the young to wear and the right accessories to go with them.

Struggling to make ends meet and suffering ridicule from the press and some passers-by, Quant persevered. In less than ten years, her clothing designs was world famous, selling in 150 shops in Britain, 320 stores in the United States, and throughout the world: France, Italy, Switzerland, Kenya, South Africa, Australia, Canada, and more.

The miniskirt, for which she is arguably most famous, became one of the defining fashions of the 1960s. The miniskirt was developed separately by Andre Courr�ges, and there is disagreement as to who came up with the idea first. Mary Quant named the miniskirt after her favourite make of car, the Mini.



What is the skirt that is even shorter than the mini skirt?

The miniskirt is a skirt with a hemline well above the knees (generally 20cm or more above knee level). Its existence is generally credited to the fashion designer Mary Quant, who was inspired by the Mini Cooper automobile, although the French designer André Courrèges is also often cited as its inventor, and there is disagreement on who invented it first. Some credit the Miniskirt to Helen Rose who made some miniskirts for actress Anne Francis in the 1956 Sci Fi movie, Forbidden Planet.

Anne Francis in the 1956 Sci Fi movie


Recently, Marit Allen, a Vogue "Young Ideas" editor at the time, has stated that "John Bates, in particular, has always been completely unappreciated for his contribution to the innovation and creativity he brought to the London design scene." He bared the midriff, used transparent vinyl and, Marit Allen asserts, was responsible for "the raising of the hemline. It was John Bates, rather than Mary Quant or Courrèges, who was responsible for the miniskirt." Bates' costumes and accessories for Diana Rigg in The Avengers define "Mod style."

Diana Rigg in The Avengers


Mary Quant ran a popular clothes shop on Chelsea, London's Kings Road called Bazaar, from which she sold her own designs. In the late 1950s she began experimenting with shorter skirts, which resulted in the miniskirt in 1965—one of the defining fashions of the decade.

Owing to Quant's position in the heart of fashionable "Swinging London", the miniskirt was able to spread beyond a simple street fashion into a major international trend.

The miniskirt was further popularised by André Courrèges, who developed it separately and incorporated it into his Mod look, for spring/summer 1965. His miniskirts were less body-hugging, worn with the white "Courrèges boots" that became a trademark. By introducing the miniskirt into the haute couture of the fashion industry, Courrèges gave it a greater degree of respectability than might otherwise have been expected of a street fashion.

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The miniskirt was followed up in the mid-1960s by the even shorter micro skirt, which covers not much more than the intimate parts with the underpants. It has often been derogatorily referred to as a belt. Subsequently, the fashion industry largely returned to longer skirts such as the midi and the maxi. However, miniskirts remain popular.

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The 1980s saw the miniskirt's introduction to the office. Many women began to incorporate the miniskirt into their business attire. Today, it is common to see a woman wearing a miniskirt in the office.

Picture source: , Photographer: Ursula Kordis

Around the turn of the 21st century, the micro has been reworked as an even less substantial "beltskirt", which is more an evocation of the idea of a skirt than something that covers anything substantial. It may perhaps also provide rhythm for the hipline. Due to its revealing nature, the "beltskirt" is rarely worn in public. Miniskirts are also seen worn over trousers or jeans, or with strap-on trouser "leggings" that provide coverage of each leg from above the knee.

Source : apparelsearch