Watch | 20. Oct 2021

When The Whole World Got Shorty

I grew up in a small town in Western Germany and the first mini skirt I saw was on our nanny. She was only twenty years old and to go out she wore a pink skirt that barely covered her hips completing that look with black patent leather boots and an orange coat with gold buttons. My mother was shocked (I guess that is why they called those colours "shocking") and I was totally fascinated. Romy did not even have those skinny endless legs teenage models in magazines used to show off - what impressed me as even more liberating. She just wore that look for fun and because it made her feel free. To leave my mother behind with her raised eyebrows must have felt like victory.

Responsible for this fashion revolution that even reached my home in the late Sixties was an English designer called Mary Quant.

Quant had invented not only those new hem lengths but also new materials to come with them: flexible lycras formely used only for underwaer or stockings; they turnt dancing, jumping, running all of a sudden into a completely new way of moving. Also: Mary Quant started mass production. As those fabrics were cheaper than the natural cottons and satins used on their mothers clothes and also easier to finish, Quant´s clothes came in affordable price ranges. Not to speak of all those companies who copied that new fashion trend on even cheaper levels.

The Victoria&Albert museum dedicated a beautiful show to Quant this spring - I was only able to visit it online, but even that made me feel like being in a time capsule of women´s liberation movement.

Now there is also a documentary, directed by actress turning director Sadie Frost showing in cinemas right now. You might read what the ex-wife of Jude ("Ripley")Law and Gary ("Spandau Ballett") Kemp has to say about it below.

Discussing the phenomenon and talking to contemporaries as well as fashion experts does not necessarily create a great narrative. I have watched several trailers on BBC so far and I guess it is more the conventional portrait than a truely innovative movie.