Rhodes, Zandra


Rhodes, Zandra
(1940- )
   She was born Zandra Lindsey Rhodes in Kent, England, to a mother who was a fitter for the House of Worth, who later became a teacher at Medway College of Art where Zandra would later study textiles. Rhodes continued her studies at the Royal College of Art and graduated in 1964, before opening her own print studio. Since her print designs were a bit avant-garde for most British manufacturers, she and fellow graduate Sylvia Ayton established their own clothing store in trendy West London on Ful-ham Road (backed in part by actress Vanessa Redgrave). They were known for their tattoo transfer prints and paper dresses. After closing the store after only one year in business, Rhodes began freelance designing and, in 1969, caught the attention of Henri Bendel, Vogue, and Women's Wear Daily. Soon her signature, avant-garde printed clothes were favored by Natalie Wood, Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger, Tina Chow, Jackie Onassis, Princess Anne, and Princess Margaret.
   Rhodes's Conceptual Chic collection of 1977, in which she created clothing with inside-out seams, torn effects, and jeweled safety pin embellishments, earned her the name of the Queen of Punk. She is most known, however, for her loose, almost monastic clothing shapes and extravagant prints, which are often embellished with embroideries, beads, feathers, and sequins. Her pink hair and face paint were also part of her look. As style in the 1980s became suit driven and the 1990s was more about sleek and chic, Rhodes's clothing fell out of favor and she was forced to close her business. However, she diversified her business by branching out into home products, textiles, glassware, and terazzo. Her terazzo designs won her the National Terazzo and Mosaic Association Award in 1998. Among her other awards and honors are honorary doctorates from the Royal College of Art and other universities and she was named a Commander of the British Empire in 1997. In 2001, she designed costumes for the San Diego Opera and, in 2003, opened the Fashion and Textile Museum in London.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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