London Film Festival 2021: Quant | Review
October 18, 2021
The first filmmaker Sadie Frost Amount is less about the life of titular fashion mogul Mary Quant than a tribute to her legacy of shaping the counterculture of the 1960s and beyond. She was a revolutionary in gender politics, designing and marketing her style to the world. But despite a plethora of talking points spanning decades of the 92-year-old’s life, the documentary has surprisingly little to say on any of its subjects.
The feature is off to a good start as London enters the bustling ’60s. A new generation of women are looking to set themselves apart from their mother’s fashion sense and find a new, exciting and liberating wardrobe. Quant (alongside her business partner and husband Alexander Plunket Greene) defended this new era of youth through fashion, capturing the zeitgeist, with Quant’s daring creations becoming synonymous with the times. Various industry insiders dutifully and lovingly explain why her style has had such an influence on culture and feminism, while colorful archival footage serves to prove their views.
However, the 1960s did not last forever; and when the documentary arrives in the early ’70s, it loses its train of thought as the glittering charm begins to wear off. The structure becomes more and more erratic, drifting from point to point without the thought or attention of what came before it.
The lack of critical engagement in the second half is also underscored by the filmmaker’s habit of skimming over topics that could call Quant’s legacy into question: a discussion of whether she invented the miniskirt, for example, has ended. before she barely starts. And, more blatantly, a comment criticizing the fast-paced fashion culture Quant has led feels like an extra, added at the last minute. This is the most interesting part of the documentary, but it seems the most out of place.
Mary Quant is an extremely iconic figure whose cultural influence cannot be underestimated. However, trying to cover all the bases of his legacy in this documentary, Frost struggles to hang onto a concrete angle to explore the fashion mogul in a substantial way.
Amount is published nationwide on 29e October 2021.
Read more reviews and interviews from our coverage of the London Film Festival 2021 here.
For more information about the festival, visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Amount here: