194O Zandra Lindsey Rhodes, was born in Kent, England. Zandra Rhodes was introduced to the world of fashion by her mother, who was a fitter in a Paris fashion house and a teacher at Medway College of Art. Zandra studied first at Medway and then at the Royal College of Art in London. Her major area of study was textile design.
1961 Entered the Royal College of Art, London. She graduated with first class honours and a special design award in 1964.
1964-1967 Taught at the Royal College of Art, while simultaneously designing for a printing works she had set up with friend Alexander McIntyre.
1967 Zandra Rhodes became a partner in a boutique called the "Fulham Road Clothes Shop" where she designed and made clothes.
Her early textile fashion designs were considered too silly by the traditional British manufacturers, so in 1969, she established her own retail outlet in the fashionable Fulham Road in West London. Her very first designs under her own name included chiffon scarves, handkerchief pointed pants, caftans, sheer printed organza jackets and at-home robes.
Zandra's own lifestyle has proved to be as dramatic, glamorous and extroverted as her designs. With her bright green hair (later changed to a pink and sometimes a red), theatrical makeup and art jewelry, she has stamped her identity on the international world of fashion.
1970 She added jersey to her collection and revived the crinoline. She also designed turquoise velvet dress which was worn with fur boots.
In this year, Voigue magazine gave Zandra a cover, shown on the right here, with her necklace and dress prominently shown.
In this year, she created her "Primavera" look in handpainted silk chiffon trimmed with feather fronds.
1972 She came out with a collection of day clothes under the label "Zandra Rhodes II", which included knitted sweaters, coats and dresses.
Zandra also had a knitting studio and upholstery fabric store, and sold tailored coats, furs and lingerie.
1973 Her clothes were chosen by Cecil Beaton, the famous painter and photographer, for his fashion retrospective at the Victorian and Albert Museum.
During the 1970's, Zandra designed costumes for the British Rock group Queen. These were really differing from her usual creations, but created a sensation on the stage.
1986 When Diana, Princess of Wales, visited Japan on a state visit, Zandra Rhodes designed a pink and white chiffon dress with a handkerchief hem weighted with glass and pearl beads. Her multi-cultural interests and bold distinctive designs made her a favourite of Princess Diana.
1987 Zandra Rhodes came to India, and presented her collections at Delhi and Bombay, using Indian motives in her own distinctive style. She presented saris that used Indian motives improvised by her. She showed different drapes, one being a chiffon sari draped in a Victorian fashion over a crinoline. Another was a peek-a-boo sari of a circular design with holes cut in the pallav for the arms to go in and then over the head to cover it like a stitched veil.
She used Vekatgiri cottons, kanchipuram silks, Maheshwari, organza, chiffon and georgette. Many of her saris were edged with tiny pearls. She had got the saris specially woven by India weavers in Madras.
For Autumn 2003, Zandra staged a "happening" with live music and a crowd as wild as the shocking pink and yellow walls in her Fashion and Textile Musem in South London.
Models in Rhode's signature prints of stylized flowers and new patterns, walked the ramp and vamped it up in filmy ponchos worn with embroidered jeans or brief bikinis.
We will try to put some pictures up as soon as possible.
Zandra has had two hip replacements in 2001, by the same doctor who had done a similar operation on the Queen Mother. She is now walking OK but plans to last as long as possible. She spends half of her time in the United States, visiting with her long-time partner Salah Hassanein, who lives in San Diego. He is a former President of Warner Brothers International Theatres.
Zandra completed a most beloved project in 2003. After 8 years of energy, imagination and persistence, she opened the Museum in what was an old warehouse in London. The first exhibition entitled "My Favourite Dress" showed dresses from 70 designers including Armani, Galliano, Lacroix, Missoni, Ungaro, etc. Only one Zandra Rhodes is included, a chiffon 1973 dress. She also included many dresses created by British designers at European houses like McQueen, MacDonald and Phoebe Philo at Chloe.
This Museum is one of the MUST SEE fashion stops in London.
Zandra was one of 400 invitees (she was the only fashion designer) to a party at Buckingham Palace, held by the Queen and Prince Philip to honour the achievements of British creative icons. Here on the left is a picture of her attending, where she looks rather like Elizabeth I in that gown.
The Summer of 2005 seems to be Zandra Rhode's moment. Her face is blown up across the windows of Top Shop store at Oxford Circus and the first London retrospective of her work is on display in the Fashion and Textile Museum she opened two years ago. Joseph Ettedgui has Zandra's dresses in the windows of his London flagship Joseph store, 30 years after he started buying her patterned dresses in the 1970's. Her printed chiffons are as popular today as they were then.
On 22 September 2006, she appeared as herself on the long-running BBC Radio 4 soap opera The Archers.
Rhodes also appeared, as herself, in an episode of Absolutely Fabulous during the BBC shows second season.
She has an outlandish style, her models always wear exaggerated make-up. The eyes and eyebrows are especially noticeable. Rhodes lacked eyebrows herself so she painted them on. The Rhodes aesthetic is gently flattering, flamboyantly feminine and never harsh. She is specially known for her screen printed and hand decorated textiles. Her prints are inspired by drawings, some incident that interests her, or a period in history or even children's book illustrations. The year of her Medieval Pageant collection, her models wore wimples and snoods, in colours plucked from the English countryside. She never restricts herself to working in a regular format. Her designs are free-wheeling and spirited with no beginning, no end, no straight edges and her prints are her own "particular handwriting" of wiggly undulating lines. She uses motifs like strange flowers, rock landscapes, red Indian arrows, cactus or lily motifs, lips, lipsticks, teddy bears, zigzag and splashy patterns. Her flower fairy collection was named after the fairies in childrens books, like cobweb, honey suckle, pea blossom and almond blossom. It included dresses in tulle embroidered with dew drops, min skating skirts with pink pearls stitched on. Her Indian miniature painting collection included Madras plaids and raw silks in colours like jasmine, saffron, persimmon and gold short kohl. Mirror set embroideries in Indian colours were also used. Her contraversial "Conceptual Chic" collection of 1977, was inspired by the Punks of London, and included ripped, zipped and safety-pin secured dresses. Her "Secrets of the Nile:" collection, featured plenty of glitter and glitz on chiffon, organza, denim, knitwear, corduroy and jersey. Frills and swirls, narrow and flared garments in colours like turquoise, lilac, star and milky-way cream, navy, silver, brown comet, and maroon sunset. Her favourite colours are vigorously pale shades and prints, often white on white. She enjoys using fabrics like chiffon, organza, metal shimmered silks, chamois and Viyella.
Princess Anne, Diana Princess of Wales,