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.
He co-founded Branson Coates Architecture with Doug Branson in 1985 before opening his architecture and design studio in 2006. He was a partner in the Branson Coates architecture and design studio and the founder of the radical NATO (Narrative Architecture Today, established in London in 1983) design group (established in 1985).
He met Rex Whistler at the Slade, with whom he began making papier-maché masks. These piqued the interest of Sergei Diaghilev, who commissioned Messel to create masks for the Ballets Russes production Zéphyre et Flore in 1925. For his 1928 play This Year of Grace, Noel Coward commissioned sets and costumes.
The house he occupied until 1945 at Ashcombe, Wiltshire, near friend Edith Olivier was decorated with limited funds using exaggerated baroque furniture. The walls of the ‘Circus Bedroom’ were painted by visiting artist friends, including Rex Whistler and Oliver Messel, in a kind of Surrealistic overstatement.