The King’s Road announces its next chapter with the launch of the V&A Exhibition, Mary Quant

ESTABLISHED as one of the world’s most famous shopping and lifestyle destinations, The King’s Road is a familiar hotspot to anyone living in or visiting London. From its aristocratic origins as King Charles II’s private road, the King’s Road remains an intrinsic part of London culture and has played a crucial role in the history of the high street as we know it today. It has seen fashion trends – from Mods to Punks, Sloane Rangers and New Romantics – come and go, it has nurtured some of the greats in music and gained recognition in pop culture, King’s Road is the title of a song by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from the 1981 album Hard Promises, and now today, not only is it a symbol of rich fashion history, but also a pioneer for the future of the high street.

King’s Road, Streetscape


Mary Quant and Alexander Plunket Greene, photograph by John Cowan, 1960.
Courtesy of Terence Pepper Collection

The King’s Road has unveiled its latest chapter … from its visual identity and revitalised retail and leisure experience, to ongoing cultural programming, community initiatives and restoration of landmarks. So who better to principally sponsor the Mary Quant exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum than The King’s Road?

In November 1955, Mary Quant opened Bazaar at 138a King’s Road, introducing a new way of shopping and in turn, revolutionising retail with immense global impact. Designing practical, shorter and lighter clothes to help the modern day woman move, launching new and comfortable varieties of hosiery and underwear, and finally, introducing luxury elements and design to the high street – Mary Quant was an instrumental figure in fashion and harnessed the youthful spirit of the sixties.

Mary Quant selecting fabric, 1967 (C) Rolls Press Popper. Photo Getty Images

Model holding a Bazaar bag c.1959 (C) Mary Quant Archive

The V&A exhibition, running from 6 April 2019, takes you through the years between 1955 and 1975, effectively demonstrating the way in which Mary Quant’s designs brought a fun approach to fashion and drastically altered the tastes and attitudes of the British nation, and beyond, over 20 years. Starting with just a small boutique and finishing with an international label, Quant revolutionised British fashion with a new found energy and rebellion.

Featuring items from the Dame Mary Quant’s Archive, and the V&A’s extensive fashion holdings, which include the largest public collection of Quant garments in the world, the show celebrates over 120 garments, some of which have never been on display before.

Kellie Wilson wearing tie dress by Mary Quant

Taking inspiration from Quant, The King’s Road looks to its future as a home for the next generation of creative, era-defining pioneers.

Hugh Seaborn, CEO of Cadogan (leading the strategy), says, “We are working collaboratively with other stakeholders to create a cohesive brand identity and ‘vision’ that will keep the King’s Road relevant and unique. This includes looking at everything from the retail mix, public realm, experiences, events and identity.”

Restoring the historic Gaumont Palace Theatre building and renovating the Chelsea Old Town Hall are two endeavours amongst the environmental and purpose aims of Cadogan. Enticing a new culinary experience, The King’s Road will see the opening of The Duke of York Restaurant in May 2019 and the first Costes Hotel outside of Paris in 2020. Plus, major events such as Chelsea in Bloom celebration and Kensington & Chelsea Art weekend are scheduled in for this summer. 

Chelsea Old Town Hall 1908

Chelsea Old Town Hall 2018

This is an exciting time for London and offers the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past, the present and the future of the British high street. Both the Mary Quant exhibition and The King’s Road rejuvenation are a cause for celebration.

by Lily Rimmer

The exhibition, Mary Quant, runs from April 6, 2019 – February 16, 2020. Tickets are £12 here.

To read more about this exciting time for The King’s Road, head to their new website here