INTERVIEW WITH ZANDRA RHODES
In celebration of our collaboration with the iconic Dame Zandra Rhodes, our founder and designer, Poppy Lissiman sits down with Zandra to delve into her extraordinary and vibrant career, discover her favourite pieces from the collection, and explore the inspirations that fuel her creative genius. Read on to unravel the story behind this perfect partnership.
PL: Your career in design has taken you to some spectacular places all over the world which in turn has inspired your collections, if you had to choose was there a place you visited which was the source of the most inspiration? Or inspired you to create a collection which you are the fondest of?
ZR: Australia inspired some of my most spectacular prints such as ‘Spinifex’ and ‘Uluru’. I designed a one sided dress worn by Jackie O and Lauren Bacall in my Uluru print. India is also a huge inspiration for colour and my beautiful beaded dresses. Both the traditional dress and the fabulous adventures I had in India led to inspire collections.
PL: You’ve dressed some of the world’s most famous people including Freddie Mercury, Princess Di, Jacky O, Bianca Jagger, the legendary Divine and Debbie Harry. Who was the absolute best to work with and why?
ZR: Freddie was lovely - he was very shy. He visited my small rickety studio in Bayswater and looked through my rails where he found a wedding dress. I told him to put it on and see how it would flow as he danced and twirled. He then commissioned me to design a top inspired by the dress - it became what we know today as his iconic white pleated tunic he wore on stage in 1974.
PL: Do you collect anything?
ZR: Stones - I have a piece of Australian Opal and a piece from the Berlin wall! They are all sprawled across my dining table and make for great conversation and dinner parties!
PL: What is your favourite animal?
ZR: A long haired cat
PL: If you could work creatively in only one medium from now on what would it be?
ZR: Screen-printed chiffon and floating fabric, it’s been my favourite medium for decades and I would go as far as saying it’s part of the DNA of the Zandra Rhodes brand.
PL: If there was anyone right now, dead or alive who you wished to see wear your designs, who would it be?
ZR: David Bowie.
PL: Your designs have transcended not just fashion but homewares and your own homes - including your current London Penthouse which has been regularly featured in the top interior design magazines time and again. What have been some of the pieces you have taken with you from each one of your homes over the years across the US and the UK which you could never bear to part with?
ZR: My collection of Carol McNicol and Kate Malone china, Duggie Fields paintings, and my Andrew Logan Chandelier which embellishes one of my seating areas in my Rainbow Penthouse. To me these pieces have such sentimental value from some of the most important people in my life.
PL: What is your all time favourite song?
ZR: Strawberry fields forever
PL: What is your most rewatched movie?
ZR: Mamma Mia
PL: If you could own any piece of art, irrespective of value what would it be?
ZR: Arnolfini Portrait, by Jan van Eyck
PL: You’re instantly recognisable on account of your hot pink bob which you have been rocking since 1980, if the world suddenly became extinct of pink hair dye what colour would you go next?
ZR: Emerald Green - I had green hair in the 70’s before it went pink and I rather liked it!
PL: If your house was on fire and you could only save one item from your wardrobe what would it be?
ZR: My fabulous yellow felt ‘Knitted Circle’ coat from my very 1st collection (1969) as it was the beginning of it all, together with an Andrew Logan brooch! (I might have to use it to keep warm!)
PL: Lastly if you had to choose a favourite pair of sunglasses and a favourite bag from our collaboration together what would they be?
ZR: Floating flowers - so feminine, so memorable and inspired from a print very close to my heart ‘Button Flower’. As well as the Frilled Satin Bag in Hot Pink, of course!