Dame Zandra Rhodes at Pure London

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

At #PureLondon (AW20/21), we were honoured with the opportunity to hear from #ZandraRhodes herself, to tell us her personal story and experiences. She began by speaking about her family, mainly her mother, as she was the main inspiration which drove Rhodes to her success. But the part which caught my interest was when she addressed the difficulties of beginning her journey and forming connections with manufactures and companies who kept declining her designs. I think that this is a challenge which has not vanished over time, just like in the 1960’s, today most young designers face the difficulties of finding someone who believes in their art just as much as them.



Now a bit more about her patterns and where Rhodes continuously extracts her inspiration from, it mainly comes from her travels. The organic materials and natures which surround all of us. Some examples include Japanese flowers, seashells, the splashes of colour and India’s culture. These prints are the essence of her garments, all the construction and other detail is done only to highlight and advance her prints. Rhodes achieves this by using simplistic shapes and techniques like layering and smocking when it comes to assembling a final look or a garment.

Throughout the years, Zandra Rhodes became a famous, well known name. She had a strong following in the US, UK and Australia. Her designs caught the attention of many public figures, from royalties like Diana, Princess of Wales, to British famous #Rockmusicians, #FreddieMercury and #BrianMay. Her work was fresh, original and inspiring, it must have felt like a privilege to be dressed in one of her designs.

Rhodes altered between designing costumes for Operas and designing interior home collections including cushions, rugs or even glassware. By 2003 she has become a founder of the #Fashion and Textile Museum and developed an interior design business in California. Her career began to expand further than just garment designs and fashion shows.


Zandra Rhodes is an artist who was very keen on giving back to the community, encouraged lectures about the history of fashion and its impact on the society, and also organised exhibits where she collaborated with other designers. Her work is now available for student study around the world, as well as her drawings and behind the scenes interviews. With all of these sources she aspires to inspire a new generation of brilliant, creative designers.


Read interview with Zandra below:

https://www.purelondon.com/pure-london-blog/meet-our-keynote-in-conversation-with-dame-zandra-rhodes


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