This week’s gem from the Stoddard – Templeton Design Archive is a collection of designs by Mary Quant for Templeton Carpets.
Mary Quant, (born 11 February 1934), is a famous fashion designer and something of a British fashion icon. Quant was probably at the height of her fame in the mid 1960s, and today her name is most commonly associated with the swinging sixties, the London look and mod fashion. She is perhaps best known however, as the inventor of the miniskirt, which, at the time, was thought by some to be dangerously short and highly controversial.
In 1955, after studying at Goldsmiths College and completing an apprenticeship, Quant, in collaboration with her husband, opened her own clothes shop called Bazaar on the King’s Road in London. After a few years of becoming evermore dissatisfied with the range of clothes on offer to women at the time, Quant began designing and selling her own clothes in the shop, with great success.
As the decade went on, and thanks in part to Quant, the miniskirt got progressively shorter. As female mod fashion went from an underground style to a more commercialised fashion, iconic models like Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy began to exemplify the high-fashion mod look. Soon, what had begun as high fashion filtered down to the masses, and the miniskirt and the Mary Quant aesthetic became emblematic of the decade.
In recognition of her success, Mary Quant won a number of design awards throughout the 1960s, as well as an OBE in 1966. Also in 1966, she branched out by founding Mary Quant Cosmetics. Then, in 1990, decades later and still in the business, she won the Hall of Fame Award honoured by the British Fashion Council.
The launch of the “By Mary Quant for Templeton Carpets” range was heralded as a revolution in carpets. Up until then, after flourishes of colour and excitement with art deco and block modern in the 1920s and 1930s and psychedelic patterns in the 1960s, the 1970s and early 1980s brought mainly rather stale reworkings of traditional and historically derived patterns and motifs. Templeton’s were seeking to stir things up by collaborating with a fashion designer like Mary Quant. As Quant said at the time:
To many people carpets have become dull and boring necessities simply because they have lagged behind other home furnishings in terms of designs and colour. My aim has been to produce, in collaboration with Templeton’s, a range of Axminsters which puts fun back into flooring, but which, at the same time, fulfills a genuine consumer demand.
The name Mary Quant usually conjures up ideas of bold patterns, block prints, and black and white. Her range of designs for Templetons however, is in stark contrast to what I had expected and generally uses soft, muted colours and non-abrasive patterns. Nevertheless, colours mutations of Mary Quant’s signature black and white flower logo (below) can be seen in the designs above.
As well as the original designs and patterns we have in the design archive, we are also very lucky to have photographs of the finished carpets and press information relating to the Mary Quant range in the corporate archive. The press packs contain sales and publicity materials which really help to contextualise the range. They also feature photographs from some rather unusual advertising campaigns (see below).
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