Chatting with Zandra Rhodes in London!

They say never to meet your idols... how wrong they were! Zandra Rhodes is a dream of a lady, full of laughter and buoyancy, covered from head to toe in colours and patterns!

Zandra Rhodes Flare Street

We had the chance to meet in London and hear all about her adventures in fashion, 50 years of being a fabulous lady in the industry! Starting out in the 60's as a textile designer for dress, when everyone else was doing furnishing fabrics, Zandra paved her own path by starting up her own Studio and selling to stores and boutiques on Carnaby Street. 

Zandra Rhodes Flare Street

It was 1966, and she was and inspiration was flooding in from the likes of Warhol, fabulous ad's and all the makeup advertisements in magazines.  
Below is her lipstick textile, designed with the makeup magazine's in mind. It was recreated by Valentino in 2016 for their collection.  

Zandra Rhodes Flare Street

Zandra Rhodes Flare Street

From 1966 to 1969, Zandra opened and sold her designs are her store, 'Fulham Road Clothes Shop.' At that time, she was serving customers from all walks of life and a lot of musican's and their muses!
Snapped by David Bailey, her caftans were featured in Vogue and were inspired by Folk Art. 

David Bailey Zandra Rhodes

David Bailey Zandra Rhodes

David Bailey Zandra Rhodes

When asked what the key to her success from the early years and over the past 50 was, she says 'you just have to believe in it, hammer away and then you have a chance.' She also says to 'make a contribution that is recognisable.' 

Pat Cleveland Zandra Rhodes

Her brand is still independent, sold in numerous retail stores and up until only 4 years ago, they were still screen printing her silk chiffon in her studio. Nowadays, they are created digitally from hand-drawn sketches. 

Underneath her apartment in London is her museum - the Fashion and Textile Museum, which she has set up as a way to ensure textile designers are remembered. 

We asked her about her latest campaign featuring Pixie Geldof and Jan de Villeneuve and what the inspiration was for cross-generational models. She said that her designs look wonderful on all sorts of different people and they're made for people of all ages. She wanted to reflect this through her latest campaign. 

Zandra Rhodes Pixie Geldof Jan de Villeneuve

Obviously, when we got to the part of who she'd dressed in her designs over the years, we were in complete dreamland! 1975 saw Freddie Mercury & Brian May in her studio. She told them to walk around and 'see how you feel in the outfit...' 
Thanks to that, we now have this...! The outfit was also recreated for the Bohemian Rhapsody film in 2019 by Zandra. 

zandra rhodes freddie mercury

Other wonderful people she dress were Bowie, Diana Ross, Princess Diana, SJP, Barbra Streisand... the list goes on!

In regards to sustainably in fashion she left us with this piece of advice: 
'wearing less and making sure it goes further. Make in small amounts and make it to last longer.'

Check out more about Zandra on her Instagram here and website

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