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The shop capitalized on the buying power of baby boomers, those born during the sharp increase in birthrate following the end of World War II, who were beginning to grow into teenagers. Naive about the mechanics of
running a retail business, Quant and her partners sold their wares with a markup much smaller than any nearby store, without realizing they were actually taking a loss on many items. “It was no wonder we did such a roaring trade the moment we opened”, she later wrote. 

“The shop was constantly stripped bare-sometimes we hardly had enough to dress the window because we never bought enough of anything”. Shortly thereafter, they decided to take another plunge, and opened a second shop, this one in the more swank Knightsbridge neighborhood. Soon, their production shifted into even higher gear when, in 1963, Quant was approached to design a line for J.C. Penney, at that time the biggest retail chain in the United States. Quant was selected to give the stores a more up to date image, with her bright, geometric printed dresses.
“It was the first time ever that the clothes of a named British designer had been promoted throughout a large chain of stores across the States”, Quant recalled. “It was exciting but worrying too”. 

Although Quant’s designs eventually faded in popularity, the business continued to expand to include everything from carpet to swimsuits to toys. In 1983, she launched “Mary Quant at Home”, a line of household furnishings featuring wall paper and china, based around a chosen color scheme. Color, in the form of cosmetics, was her lasting passion. In Quant by Quant, she explained her entrance into the field: “In the fifties, there was no makeup around that I wanted to wear”, she told Vogue’s Gully Wells. “So I started experimenting with crayons. The best were Caran d’Ache colored pencils… Then the models started using theatrical makeup to get the look they wanted, so finally I decided to start producing my own line in 1966”. 

Quant ultimately focused her energy almost entirely on her cosmetics line, which sold worldwide but was most popular in Japan, where, by the mid-1990s, Quant had more than 200 stores. Besides her autobiography, she had penned two additional books: “Colour by Quant”, published in 1984, and “Quant on Make-up”, in 1986.

Until tomorrow: The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.

 

 

 Soon, their production shifted into even higher gear when, in 1963, Quant was approa-ched to design a line for J.C. Penney, at that time the biggest retail chain in the United States. Quant was selected to give the stores a more up to date image, with her bright, geometric printed dresses. “It was the first time ever that the clothes of a named British designer had been promoted throughout a large chain of stores across the States”, Quant recalled. “It was exciting but worrying too”.