Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


The miniskirt is a skirt whose hemline is a way above the knees (generally from ten to twenty centimetres above knee-level). Its existence is generally credited to the fashion designer Mary Quant, although Andre Courrèges is also often cited as its inventor, and there is disagreement as to who got there first.

Quant ran a popular clothes shop in London's Kings Road called Bazaar, from which she sold her own designs. In the late 1950s she began experimenting with shorter skirts, which resulted in the miniskirt - one of the defining fashions of the 1960s.

Owing to Quant's position in the heart of fashionable Swinging London, the miniskirt was able to spread beyond a simple street fashion into a major international trend.

The miniskirt was further popularised by the French designer Andre Courrèges, who developed it separately and incorporated it into his Mod look. By introducing the miniskirt into the haute couture of the fashion industry, Courrèges gave it a greater degree of respectability than might otherwise have been expected of a street fashion.

In the United Kingdom, the increasing interest in the miniskirt in the 1960s necessitated a change in the way skirts were taxed. Previously, skirts were taxed by length, with the miniskirt qualifying as tax-exempt by effectively being a child's length.

The miniskirt was followed up in the mid 1960s by the even shorter micro skirt, which covers not much more than the intimate parts with the underpants. It has often been derogatorily referred to as a belt. Subsequently, the fashion industry largely returned to longer skirts such as the midi and the maxi.

Around the turn of the twenty-first century the micro has been reworked as an even less substantial skirtbelt which more evokes the idea of a skirt than covers anything much except perhaps also providing rhythm for the hipline.