If ever a fashion designer had a magical, kaleidoscopic touch for colour and pattern, that designer is Zandra Rhodes. And she brings colour to all our lives, whether we own an original Zandra design or not. This year she celebrates ‘50 Fabulous Years of Design’ – a dazzling achievement that makes Zandra the perfect subject for marking International Women’s Day.
Clearly she was born under a star that danced – and has never stopped dancing. Introduced to fashion by her mother, an haute couture fitter, Zandra trained at the Royal College of Art. Early on, her textile designs were considered too outrageous to turn into garments, so she did just that herself and opened a shop to sell them. By 1969, American Vogue was featuring her designs in their pages, and the UK fashion scene quickly changed its mind and embraced them too.
There followed very many stellar moments in a meteoric journey, and here are a just a few to contemplate: Designer of the Year, 1972; designated ‘Princess of Punk’ for her pink and black jersey collection, 1977; designer to royalty and rock and fashion celebrities, ongoing since the ‘70s; set and costume designer for US opera companies since 2000; founder of London’s Fashion and Textile Museum, 2003 – a venue from where many exhibitions have toured internationally; Archive Collection launched on matchesfashion.com, 2016; collaborator on a print collection for Valentino’s SS17 collection; artworks and vintage pieces sought after and collected, long time…
So this year is an entire year of celebration for the endlessly and tirelessly inventive Zandra. Look out for special events, launches and collaborations. September, also her birthday month, has been named the month of ‘Z’. There will be a retrospective exhibition and accompanying book, Zandra Rhodes, 50 Fabulous Years of Fashion. So keep on watching this Zpace! And warmest congratulations to an extraordinary icon and star of the fashion firmament.