Zandra Rhodes (1940 – ) British fashion and textile designer

Zandra Rhodes
Zandra Rhodes

Printed and painted silk and chiffon garments

Zandra Rhodes (1940- ) is a fashion and textile designer from England. Her early fashion education laid the groundwork for a career in the textile printing sector. Diana, Princess of Wales, and several celebrities, including rock singers Freddie Mercury and Marc Bolan, wore Rhodes’ designs. She designed textiles for interiors as well as clothing, with her prints appearing on furniture and homewares. Rhodes established the Fashion and Textile Museum in London in 2003

Biography

Zandra Rhodes studied lithography and printing at Medway College before going on to the Royal College of Art to study textiles, graduating in 1964 during the height of the pop movement. She made a paper wedding dress that cost less than two shillings, motivated by this trend and the work of painter Roy Lichtenstein in particular (about 7 new pence). In 1967, paper clothing was all the rage: it was the ultimate representation of disposable apparel.

She started her fashion firm in 1968 and has since been known for her beautiful chiffons and silks, which she screenprints and paints by hand in soft watery hues. Her travels and historical knowledge have influenced many of her designs. For example, her trips in Japan inspired a collection with lilies, her travels in America inspired a collection with cacti and cowboys, and her travels in Kenya inspired zebra designs. Art deco designs, zigzags, feathers, shells, and amoeba-like flowers are also common themes. On her lily prints, she often includes words like “lilies.” Many of her creations have been inspired by the kaftan’s timeless appeal, and she has frequently produced gowns incorporating handkerchiefs.

Zandra Rhodes fashion show in London.

Zandra Rhodes fashion show in London. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Singer Freddie Mercury of British rock group Queen, wearing a Zandra…

Singer Freddie Mercury of British rock group Queen, wearing a Zandra Rhodes designed costume, performs on stage in London, 1974. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Christopher Biggins and Zandra Rhodes attend the Zandra Rhodes…

Christopher Biggins and Zandra Rhodes attend the Zandra Rhodes presentation during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016 at Hotel Cafe Royal on September 18, 2015 in London, England. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Singer Patti Boulaye striking a different pose, as a model for the…

Singer Patti Boulaye striking a different pose, as a model for the Zandra Rhodes Spring/Summer 1983 collection. She wears an Indian-style red chiffon Kaftan embroidered in gold over a red jersey slip. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

The Zandra Rhodes pink chiffon dinner gown worn by Diana, Princess of…

The Zandra Rhodes pink chiffon dinner gown worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, the see through knitted dress designed by Charlotte Todd which was worn by Kate Middleton at the annual St Andrews… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Princess Diana wearing a Zandra Rhodes dress to a dinner in Kyoto,…

Princess Diana wearing a Zandra Rhodes dress to a dinner in Kyoto, Japan, 9th May 1986. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Punk-inspired outfits

Rhodes’ stunning, contrasting punk-inspired outfits, which improved and idealized this street fashion into the luxurious world of couture, garnered a lot of attention in 1977. Safety pins incongruously coated with tiny seed pearls, chains, and meticulously constructed holes and slashes graced her top-priced silk-jersey evening outfits, which were manufactured in black, creams, and screaming pink.

Fashion and Textile Museum

Fashion and Textile Museum (London)
Fashion and Textile Museum (London)

Rhodes founded the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, which Princess Michael of Kent inaugurated in May 2003. Architect Ricardo Legorreta took seven years to complete the four-million-dollar building. For fashion students, the museum hosts exhibitions and instructional events. A library and lecture room are included in the museum, which will assist visitors in understanding how fashion has influenced society over time.  There are dresses from nearly seventy fashion designers in the first exhibit, named “My Favorite Dress.” Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan, Valentino, and Giorgio Armani are among the designers featured. Zandra Rhodes specifically requested that each designer select one of their favourite gowns from their collections to be included in the exhibition. Although the museum withholds various designer outfits, Rhodes needed to have other designers in the display so that the museum presented a nuance of design other than her own. Three thousand of Rhodes’ unique outfits, as well as her sketchbooks and silkscreens, were displayed in the exhibition.

Recognition

  • Rhodes was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1997 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to British fashion and textiles, having been invested at Buckingham Palace by Princess Anne.
  • 1972 Designer of the Year, English Trade Fashion, Royal Designer Industry, Royal Society of Arts
  • 1978 Fellow of the Society of Industrial Arts, Moore College of Art Award, Philadelphia
  • 1979 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in the Performing Arts Costume Design
  • 1983 British Designer, Clothing and Export Council and National Economic Development Committee
  • 1985 Alpha award for Best Show of the Year, Saks Fifth Avenue, New Orleans
  • 1986-Women of Distinction Award, Northwood Institute, Dallas
  • 1990 Number One Textile Designer, Observer Magazine
  • 1995 Hall of Fame Award, British Fashion Council
  • 1997 C.B.E. (Commander of the British Empire, Queen Elizabeth II), Golden Hanger award for lifetime achievement, Fashion Careers of California College, San Diego
  • 1998 Leading Woman Entrepreneur of the World by the Star Group U.S.A., Honor award from the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association Honor for Del Mar Terrace
  • 2006 Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award 
  • 2019 Walpole British Luxury Legend Award

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, May 23). Zandra Rhodes. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:54, May 31, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Zandra_Rhodes&oldid=1024645541

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