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Mary Quant extended at V&A Dundee

14th July 2020

Photograph of Mary Quant extended at V&A Dundee

V&A Dundee will reopen on Thursday 27 August with its first major fashion exhibition, Mary Quant, and an exciting new programme extending throughout the whole museum.

Mary Quant is the first international retrospective on the iconic British designer who disrupted the fashion establishment, captured the spirit of London in the 1960s, and started a fashion revolution that a whole generation wanted to take part in - and still continues today.

The exhibition will run from 27 August to 17 January 2021, with tickets on sale from today at www.vam.ac.uk/dundee This will be followed by Night Fever: Designing Club Culture from 27 March to 5 September 2021.

Turner Prize-winning architecture collective Assemble will begin work in V&A Dundee on Making Room from 27 August, a project with Dundee Central Library, local school pupils and the museum's Young People's Collective.

Making Room is taking inspiration from historic buildings in Dundee to produce a new interior room that will be built in V&A Dundee before being moved to Dundee Central Library, where it will function as an area for digital learning and making for the city.

Scotland's first design museum has also curated a new exhibition in response to the coronavirus pandemic, looking at how designers responded to the crisis. Now Accepting Contactless: Design in a Global Pandemic will be shown in the Michelin Design Gallery, in spaces throughout the museum and, for the first time, outside the museum as well.

Other design projects will be shown across the museum, including Sewing Box for the Future and films from the Schools Design Challenge, as well as the reopening of the Scottish Design Galleries including Charles Rennie Mackintosh's iconic Oak Room.

A number of measures will be in place across the museum to ensure a safe, welcoming and inspiring experience for visitors and staff alike. All visitors will need to book free tickets to enter the museum, as part of the essential steps to keep visitors safe and to ensure physical distancing. Those free tickets can also be booked from today at www.vam.ac.uk/dundee

Mary Quant at V&A Dundee is supported by Barclays Private Bank. Making Room and the Schools Design Challenge are both supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery.

Leonie Bell, incoming Director of V&A Dundee, said: "I am hugely excited to be preparing to join the team at V&A Dundee, particularly at a time when Scotland's first design museum will be reopening and welcoming visitors back with Mary Quant, its first major fashion exhibition, and its most ambitious programme to date.   

"That programme also includes the brilliant architecture collective Assemble working with young people in Dundee and an exploration of how designers responded to the pandemic, underlining the importance of design to everyone’s lives."

Sophie McKinlay, Director of Programme at V&A Dundee, said: "Everyone at V&A Dundee is delighted to be preparing our remarkable museum to reopen once again, and we have all been working hard to welcome visitors back for a safe, enjoyable experience.

"Mary Quant is a remarkable designer who did so much to revolutionise the fashion industry and to empower women to wear clothes that looked great and felt great, and it’s the perfect choice for our first major fashion exhibition.

"Across the rest of the museum visitors will see more than they’ve ever seen before, with displays inside and outside the museum that explore creative responses to how the world has changed and how we hope it may change in the future."

Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said: "The reopening of V&A Dundee will be yet another important milestone in the city’s journey out of lockdown.

“I am pleased that the Assemble partnership with Central Library will see local young people given the opportunity to get involved in an exciting design project that reaches out into the community.

“I also hope that our local economy and businesses will be given a boost by visitors who come to the city because of the tremendous attractions of V&A Dundee and its Mary Quant exhibition."

Mary Quant designed clothes that made people feel good. She made quality designer fashion affordable through licensing her youthful and playful brand, creating dressmaking patterns, make-up and accessories that all showcased her iconic daisy logo.

Mary Quant encouraged a new age of feminism, inspiring young women to rebel against the traditional clothing worn by their mothers and grandmothers. Her shop Bazaar opened in 1955, the year after World War Two food rationing ended, and her colourful designs were a reaction against the austerity and drabness of post-war London.

Mary Quant is famous for popularising the miniskirt, but her designs offered many different versions of femininity and challenged the conventional gender stereotypes of post-war Britain.

Key objects featured within the exhibition include the pioneering ‘Wet Collection’ PVC rainwear, a jute miniskirt, and designs that playfully subverted menswear at a time when women were still banned from wearing trousers in formal settings such as restaurants.

The exhibition in Dundee will also feature the stories of women who made outfits from Mary Quant’s dressmaking patterns, gathered through V&A Dundee’s #SewQuant campaign, as well as a new film looking at contemporary female designers who, like Mary Quant, are forging their own way through today’s rapidly shifting fashion industry.

Mary Quant was curated by Jenny Lister and Stephanie Wood of the V&A and shown at V&A South Kensington from 6 April 2019 to 16 February 2020.

PHOTO - Courtesy of the Advertising Archives

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