Zandra Rhodes is an English designer whose fashions are considered timeless wearable works of art. Her style is described as punk meets bohemian, in intricate patterns and bold colour combinations. She continues to thrive as a designer but her earlier work is highly collectible.
Zandra Was Born For Fashion
Zandra’s mother was a fitter at the House of Worth in Paris, and then a lecturer at Medway College of Art—so she grew up with fashion as a part of her everyday life. After studying textile design at Medway, and fashion at the Royal College of Art, Zandra set out to bring her artistic visions to life. Her passion was to create bright and bold prints, but her designs were viewed as too out-of-the-box for the late 60s so she couldn’t find anyone to manufacture her textiles. Not to be discouraged, she simply created her own. She partnered with her friend and fellow fashion graduate Sylvia Ayton. Sylvia designed dresses made from Zandra’s awe-inspiring prints. They remained partners into the late 60s and each continues to design on their own. To this day Zandra’s textiles are hand-silk-screen printed in her London studio on a vintage nine-yard printing table.
Her Colourful Prints Gained Star Attention
While a departure from the fashion pallets of the 60s and 70s, Zandra’s designs quickly went from London to the world. Over the years she has dressed everyone from Pat Cleveland to Princess Diana, Donna Summer, Grace Coddington, Nicole Richie, and Mary Kate Olsen. She has many iconic dresses and prints, like her lipstick print. She’s also a source of inspiration for current-day designers like Tom Ford who avidly collects her early work.
In addition to prints, Zandra was the first designer to intentionally rip jersey as part of her collection, often linking the tears with safety pins for an edgy punk look. From ladylike to red carpet, Studio 54, 70s boho, and punk chic—Zandra has something for every fashion sense. At 78 years old, Zandra continues to design new prints and collections and occasionally redesigns her classic works in innovative new ways. However, there is nothing that compares to a vintage Zandra Rhodes.
Zandra views herself first and foremost as an artist whose canvas is clothing. However, her prints are so desirable that over the years she has designed jewelry, wrapping paper, china for Royal Doulton, fur, opera costumes and set designs—and even a limited-edition celebrity make-up collection for MAC. She also founded The Fashion Textile Museum in London to showcase textiles and iconic designers from around the world. She currently works in a studio attached to the museum so keep your eye out for her if you stop by to view the most recent exhibit.
Wanderlust Vintage is excited to announce that we have sourced a few vintage pieces by Zandra Rhodes. We’ll keep our eye out for more but her designs sell fast so check back soon!