Over the bank holiday weekend, me and Mr BBB went to the V&A to see the Mary Quant exhibition. Of course, the majority of it was fashion (so much of it so wearable today) but my eyes lit up at the beauty section. I know there was a Mary Quant store in Duke of York Square (off the King’s Road) but I swear last time I was there it had gone. Looking it up, it seems as though it may still be there, but I was convinced that MQ was no longer available in the UK. However, that’s not the case – there is a UK website where you can buy skin care, make up and some limited fashion items.
When I popped a picture on Instagram, someone commented that they thought Mary Quant nail polish was in a round bottle, and sure enough, looking at the collection the V&A had as part of the exhibition they were indeed round. I particularly love that lash-by-the-yard strip! I’ve never seen anything like it before but what’s very obvious is that Mary Quant was doing things with make-up back in the 70’s that are commonplace today but thought of as new.
Good examples are Body Gleamer to give body skin sheen – and Jelly Babies – gel skin colours and gel mascara. Those things don’t exist any more – I can’t even think how gel mascara might work so perhaps it’s just as well! The exhibition itself is quite small – and has Dior to contend with – but I really enjoyed it. The nail polish is Scintillation, £12 HERE.
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Oh my god the Special Recipe makeup (at the back on the right)!
That was all about ‘natural’ ingredients etc (probably no such thing: no info in those days) I can still smell it in my mind…. lovely. The foundation came in a small black pot with a roundy yellow top, and was the greasiest stuff imaginable, but it all suited the general vibe of dressing like a Thomas Hardy milkmaid, in old maxi petticoats and Laura Ashley print smocks. My then boyfriend hated it….so slithery.
I was ALL about MQ makeup in the early 70s. Oh and those crayons there: in 1975 maybe, she released such a thing; two colourways one of which was ‘Muted’: ooh they were gorgeous !
Ah…. MQ makeup was the backdrop to so many important moments.
How fabulous to see it here! I’m definitely going to get a keepsake from the website; thank you so much for this. xc
You’re so welcome! Gosh yes I remember the very ruffled look of Laura Ashley.. droopy and sprigs everywhere.
Hee hee! In 1973/4 my friends and I must have looked like ambulatory teepees.
The most boy-repelling gear imaginable, by current standards, but it made no difference to them in practice …..maybe it was the sexy Mary Q makeup!
Isn’t there a mq shop off knightsbridge? Little street opposite harrods? Or did they close that when they opened the Duke of York one?
Long since closed.. but I swear the DoY wasn’t there because I remember thinking it was a shame it had gone!
I miss the DoY shop, it had lovely accessories… I had some MQ mauve mascara in the 80s. Brilliant brush and colour from what I can remember. Am off to this exhibition tomorrow and am ready for some nostalgia! I hope the museum shop has some goodies xxx
There wasn’t much – I bought the t-shirt and the nail polish – there is a lipstick, books and badges after that.
Thank you Jane. That sounds just the job xx
I only ever used Mary Quant Lash Tint mascara in the 70s and never found anything like it after it all went away. Loved that stuff.
MQ is still active in Japan…surprise surprise!