From the streets of London, of Paris in the 1960s, to the alleys of Taipei now populated by the “millennium” generation, there has been one constant in the art of urban camouflage: the act of showing off.

Showing off and showing one’s legs, in all seasons, with the miniskirt as accomplice: a seductive garment revealing the legs and emphasizing the silhouette.

To be beautiful and to recognize oneself as beautiful is prerequisite to wearing the miniskirt. But what is this concept of miniaturization?

What exactly was the artistic context that caused the creation of such a wildly trendy garment?

The term << mini >> refers to the concept of miniaturization, or the action of reducing something and giving it a shorter cut or form. In both French “prêt-a-porter” and “haute-couture”, the idea of reduction has had different connotations at different times – and different ideas of what qualified as short or very short. The length of the skirt for more conservative ladies proved to be an affair of social and religious morality. Indeed, the skirt, as opposed to the trouser, remained the garment that defined the feminine condition. In most careers and professions even where uniforms are worn, the skirt is still seen as the feminine counterpart to the masculine trouser. This belief is so prevalent that women generally establish themselves as equal to men in two ways through their attire. Either they wear trousers themselves to affirm themselves equal to, or “the same as” men (however the reader should choose to see it), or they challenge the idea of the dominion of the “stronger” sex by redefining and reformulating the attributes of the “weaker” sex.






In the sixties in the Western world, where there was a loud demand for female rights, a large political and associative movement working for the liberation of women’s rights and conditions. In fact, the values put forward by this movement found deep resonance within societies that engrained stratification between genders. This had been just one issue reevaluated by a generation that had seen the world of their parents torn apart in a world war. The issue of gender equality was discussed anew as part of the reconsideration of every aspect of society’s assumptions, values, and aims. The trauma left by the war of their parents caused the desire for social progress in every domain, as well as the reform of the very foundations of society. Ultimately, “What role does mankind have on Earth?” they asked. The interrogation of the relationship between man and his environment allowed a newfound appreciation for freedom, happiness, pleasure and well being of all individuals. Because of this change in perspective, a new intellectual movement began to emerge on the political front. Hence, artistic creation and innovation also fed from the positivity of this popular discourse. As a result, the proliferation of a new world of art, architecture, cinema, music, design, and professionalism had begun. This was especially apparent in the field of fashion, whose window displays gave the most visible presence to these enduring changes. If we choose, on a narcissistic note, to analyse the impact of such changes from the stretch of sea between France and Britain, we can see how they were reflected in artistic production on both sides of the channel.


In London, Mary Quant embodied a playful, audacious, new England, which dared to accept and insist on the fact that not only had the world changed, it would only continue to do so. When she was not yet the well-known British fashion icon she is today, Quant created a garment destined for the modern, urban woman, who was at ease with herself. She deconstructed the traditional skirt by shortening it, and dubbed the “miniskirt” – “mini” indicating its length. With its obvious impression of seductiveness, prêt-a-porter fashion lines immediately adapted the design of the fresh, innovative, and subversive miniskirt in their collections. They established it as part of the phenomenon of female social liberation.


In Paris, the capital of haute couture, the French fashion designer Andre Corrèges gave the miniskirt a high fashion treatment and used it as a central element of his 1965 “haute-couture” collection. Corrèges secured for the miniskirt its eternal place in fashion history. He affirmed that the act of outfitting a woman was neither a question of taste, nor the adornment of a neutered body without spirit or agency. Rather, the act of outfitting a woman was the act of dressing a will, or a soul. Both Mary Quant and Andre Corrèges were visionaries, who saw in the miniskirt the power and energy of changes in their time. But is still what we perceive when we cast our gaze on the miniskirt today? This is contestable, and each is free to his/her own opinion.

Industrial Design: The Mini

Alec Issagonis developed this vehicle for the British Motor Corporation in the 1950s. It combined the then-popular concept of miniaturization, with the sudden desire for novelty in the standards of automotive design. One model of the Mini was designed as tribute to the innovator of another “mini” in the world of fashion, Mary Quant.

The profession of “stylist” had no limits in the world of ready-to-wear fashion. Indeed, in 1988 Mary Quant herself contributed to the design of the Mini’s interior. What a tribute!

在時裝之都巴黎,法國設計師安德列‧庫雷熱(Andre Corrèges)讓迷你裙成功躍入高級時裝,並運用迷你裙做為他1965年系列的主體元素。他的設計也讓迷你裙從此在流行時裝史上擁有一席之地。庫雷熱認為女性打造造型,重點不在於品味,更非在缺乏靈性精神的身體上做裝飾。相反的,完美的女裝及造型,是必須穿出女性的自我意志與靈魂。瑪麗官與庫雷熱都富有遠見,他們在當時就看出迷你裙充滿了可以改變時代的能量。但是當現在的我們看到迷你裙時,是否還能察覺這些過往呢?這大概就見仁見智了!

時尚工業:「迷你車風潮」 :
亞歷克·伊斯哥尼斯(Alec Issigonis,希臘裔英國汽車設計師,後受封為爵士)在50年代為英國汽車公司(BMC)打造了這台汽車。這台車成功結合了當時的流行簡化迷你概念與對新穎汽車設計的需求。這個「Mini」典範的設計,後來也啟發了另外一位在時裝業揪起「Mini」革命的設計者-瑪麗官(Mary Quant)。