Wednesday, 6 April 2011
Zandra Rhodes was born in Kent in the 1940s and was introduced to the world of fashion by her mother, who was a fitter in a Paris fashion house and a teacher at Medway College of Art. Zandra studied first at Medway and then at the Royal College of Art in London. Her major area of study was textile design.
Her early textile fashion designs were considered too outrageous by the traditional British manufacturers, so in 1969, she established her own retail outlet on fashionable Fulham Road in West London. Zandra's own lifestyle has proved to be as dramatic, glamorous and extroverted as her designs.With her bright green hair (later changed to a spectacular pink and sometimes a radiant red), theatrical makeup and art jewelry, she has stamped her identity on the international world of fashion.
She was one of the new wave of British designers who put London at the forefront of the international fashion scene in the 1970s. Her designs have always been clear, creative statements - dramatic but graceful, bold but feminine and her garments have a timeless quality that makes them unmistakably a Rhodes creation. Zandra's inspiration has always been from organic material and nature. Her innovative approach to the construction of garments can be seen in her use of reversed exposed seams and in the stylistic use of jeweled safety pins and tears during the punk era.
Zandra designed for the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and continues to design for the royal and the rich and famous around the world. She has a loyal cult following in the USA. Over the years, she has had many academic and professional honors bestowed upon her, including six doctorates. She is a Royal Designer for Industry in the UK (conferred by Prince Phillip) and was made a Commander of the British Empire by the Queen in 1997.
She has made San Diego her other home and it was the San Diego Opera that commissioned her to design the costumes for her first opera, The Magic Flute in 2001. Currently, her totally original work from the late 60's and early 70's has become a major influence of world fashion, with her print designs being recognizably seen in the Paris and Italian collections. Zandra is the founder of the Fashion and Textile Museum in London due to open May 2003.