Dear Shaded Viewers,
To be quite honest I find it a bit shocking when I mention the name Zandra Rhodes in a conversation and find out how many people interested in fashion do not know who she is. She divides her time between London and America. She is currently working on several collections at the same time she is creating costumes and sets for theater pieces in the states. Zandra studied at the Medway College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. Her degree was in textile design. For a few years she worked as a converter making textile prints for other designers before launching her own collection in the late 1960’s.
With a letter of introduction from British Vogue, Zandra met Diana Vreeland who went crazy for her designs and immediately set up a shooting putting Zandra’s clothes on the actress, Natalie Wood.It was probably love at first site Zandra with her red squiggly lines painted down her cheeks and Diana outlining her face in pink. America has always been and continues to be her strongest supporter.
images are from Sebastien Boey and Chrystl Fischer
Honestly I don’t know who deserves to wear the crown of Queen of Punk , Vivienne or Zandra .What is clear is that she was one of the new wave of British designers that put London at the forefront of the international fashion scene. Zandra’s inspiration has always been from organic material and nature. In 1997 was made a Commander of the British Empire by the Queen. In 1996 she started her plan for the Fashion and Textile Museum to commemorate the designs of British fashion designers and associated textile designers from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. Last season she did a collaboration with the Top Shop opening up a whole new market for her, now she dresses the children of her initial design base as well as their mom’s.
A few seasons ago the Parisian based design house E2 did a collection inspired by Zandra Rhodes. When I asked them if they had contacted her to let her know about their homage to her they said that they had not. A few years ago Julien MacDonald made all of his friends call Zandra to make sure that she would be at his fashion show as it too was an homage to her.