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Sunday 5 May 2019

Meeting a fellow blogger to see the Mary Quant exhibition in London

Two mid life fashion bloggers in the UK meet up for the first time at the Victoria and Albert Museum

One of the best things about blogging is meeting fellow fashion bloggers. On Saturday I met up with Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper, and we spent an enjoyable day at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
When I entered the Members' Room, where I was meeting Penny, I recognised her from behind thanks to her trendy trainers.

We had lunch first, a light salad - delicious - and we had an instant rapport which was fantastic.

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in wide legged polka dot trousers, white jumper, pink jacket and pink sandals and statement tote bag

This is what I wore. I knew it was going to be quite cold so I wore a thick white jumper but kept the rest of the outfit more summery with my wide legged trousers from River Island now reduced); pink sandals (ss17), pink jacket and fabulous pink furry bag (The Bias-Cut.com, out of stock).  The eagle eyed among you may spot that the necklace in the top picture is different to the one above. I bought it in the V&A Museum before I met Penny - it looks like crystals, but it's actually resin and very soft to wear. 

Penny was wearing black and white with one of the hats she wears so well, a print skirt, black top and fabulous black and diamond jewellery.  In the photo, it looks as if we're both wearing black and white because my trousers do appear that way, although the label says they're navy and white!

After our lunch we went down to the Mary Quant exhibition which is a very hot ticket. I was a child in the 60s so although I had heard of Mary Quant, she didn't really play a part in my life directly - although I saw a pinafore that I had in an exact replica. I was seven and Mum bought it for me to wear when we met my dad at Plymouth Station, after he'd been away for 18 months in Singapore. I also had a version of the famous Quant PVC macs - below - mine was white with a red trim (and matching birdcage umbrella).

Mary wasn't a couture designer;  her designs were mass market. But she did revolutionise the way young women dressed in the 60s. Previously they had worn outfits similar to their mothers. Mary designed clothes that were easy to wear - pinafores, shift dresses, knicker bockers - and they were mini length which caused an uproar at the time. Particularly when she wore a short dress to receive her OBE from the Queen.

The V&A does these exhibitions very well and there were videos and pictures galore, plus photos of "real" women who had worn her clothes and had donated them to the exhibition. I genuinely felt the buzz and excitement that Mary created with her designs, which extended into menswear, lingerie, hosiery and makeup.

Some of her early designs left me a bit cold as they were quite traditional and dare I say, staid, in colours like beige / ginger / grey which are not my cup of tea.

But as the 60s went on, what she sold under her own name at the eponymous Bazaar boutique, became more daring and brighter in colours. I loved this outfit and I do have a pair of tights in this colour!

Her outfits told a story of a Britain that has long since vanished: a country with a rich heritage of fabric design  (tweeds, checks) and a thriving textile industry.  Mary's clothes were shown to buyers at fun runway events, accompanied by music with models twirling and dancing at a time when normal fashion shows were very restrained. Her clothes were packaged up and sent across the world to young women eager to buy into "the London look."

A selection of outfits from Mary Quant in the exhibition at the London V and A Museum

I do remember the makeup very well:  the Starkers foundation, "Jeepers Peepers" for eyes and Havoc perfume.  It was probably too pricey for me - in the early 70s I was experimenting with Rimmel, Outdoor Girl and Miners. But I did get for Christmas a box of face products exactly like those below:

Cosmetics from the Mary Quant range Special Recipe from the 1970s

We admired Mary's shiny bob cut, one of the geometric hair styles made famous by Vidal Sassoon, below.

60s hair stylist Vidal; Sassoon creating Mary Quant's bob hair cut
After walking round the exhibition, Penny and I then feasted on carrot cake (Penny) and a cream tea (me). Well, it's hard work looking at all those mannequins.  I don't think I'd ever seen such a big scone.

It was lovely to meet Penny and we covered  a vast range of topics from our mutual love of writing to Brexit, the horrendous political situation in the UK now, and makeup. 

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  1. Isn't Penny just such a lovely elegant woman! I loved meeting her last year! Hope to meet you to some day!

  2. Love that green outfit!! Looks like so much fun!

  3. I'm so glad you met up. I'm sure you got on like a house on fire. What a fab exhibition to go to.


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