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02-01-2004
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1970s-1980s Zandra Rhodes
Quote:
Zandra Rhodes- rebel with a cause


Fashion kills the thing it loves...or so the saying goes. All too easily designers become victims of their own success, be it as one-hit wonders or casualties of over-exposure. No one can escape this occupational hazard but who better to upend the status quo than fashion's uncrowned 'Queen of Punk' - Zandra Rhodes.


Meeting Rhodes in the flesh is a veritable paradox. Her diminutive status and playful topknot of fuchsia hair belie the strength of an industry figure whose credentials are no less than prodigious. Since the launch of her 'Conceptual Chic' collection in 1977 to the current realisation of her life-long dream, the Fashion and Textile Museum, she has become one of Britain's most referenced designers. Yet despite a notorious work ethic and innumerable awards of distinction, her idiosyncratic style has often been overlooked in favour of those more visibly 'haute'.

“People used to say, 'Ooohhh, when did you start designing again?' she mentions with some frustration, “and I'd say 'I didn't stop!' but nobody notices.” Having kept a collection of 3,000 dresses and a complete archive of nearly 2,000 drawings and prints, Rhodes embarked on redressing this imbalance by creating her own form of posterity: The Fashion and Textile Museum. “Originally I wanted to donate my collection to the V&A”, she explains “and then I thought if that were the case, it would only be seen every what, at best, every 50 years. So I decided I'd create a museum that would first of all, house my work and then specialise in British fashion from 1950 to the present day.”

Despite Rhodes' concern with preservation, The FTM is much more than just a personal and chronological archive. It aims to encourage and inspire the study of fashion & textile design through education and training which it provides, at all levels together with workshops and textile print facilities. Its education graduate and intern programme – in cooperation with Fashion Careers of California in San Diego – offers a unique insight into a printing and textile technique that has been developed by Rhodes over her 40-year career. With former protégées including names like Julien MacDonald, Philip Treacy and Matthew Williamson, her strong didactic reputation will no doubt prove pivotal in peaking the interest of fresh talent.

Moreover the FTM's philosophy: My Community, My Museum is reflected in its extensive outreach programme, which seeks to represent less visible age and ethnic backgrounds. “We want to make our side of the river very strong”, she stresses. Situated on Bermondsey Street, at the centre of the Docklands regeneration campaign, the museum's unmistakable fuchsia and orange exterior is indeed in a strong position to do just that. “The children who got to the local schools come in and do study programmes like painting banners, doing self-portraits and learning things about textiles. So, it meant they suddenly had a chance to see their work in a museum and it worked out perfectly.”

Centred around a series of rotating exhibitions, the museum opens in May with an inaugural retrospective entitled “My Favourite Dress”. The show, commissioned by Thomas Heatherwick, brings together 69 of the world's greatest fashion luminaries including John Galliano, Christian Lacroix, Alexander McQueen and Mary Quant, with each designer citing personal reasons for choosing their favourite creation. “My own favourite dress”, says Rhodes, “is one I did in 1974… the Ayer's Rock print.” Describing in detail how the garment clings to the body and blooms into tendrils, it is apparent that Rhodes' relationship with her work is one dramatic love affair. You cannot help but feel seduced by her theatrical passion, which is no wonder that trendsetters like Princess Diana and Jackie Onassis have commissioned her designs. And what of her latest celebrity fan, the ever-petulant Kelly Osbourne? “Well, it was written up in the newspapers that I was her idol so we got in touch with her and she wore some of my things for the Emmy Awards.” Despite the Bel Air kudos, Rhodes own aspirations about whom she'd like to dress are far more character-driven. “I'd like to dress Dolly Parton or Jessie Norman”, she admits, “people who are larger than life characters, you know, that you could do a splendid job with. I mean I now do operas in San Diego. I did “The Magic Flute” and I am now working on “The Pearlfishers” and there you deal with these large people with these incredible voices and it gives it a bit of a glow, you know.”

It's not only her clients who fall sway to this glow. After having published 'The Art of Zandra Rhodes' – an anthology of her designs aimed at establishing the method behind her creative process – Rhodes experienced a distinct case of déjà vu. “Well, first of all I started to see little motifs of mine. I think it was Prada or Gucci who used the lipstick,” she explains. “Then a friend went to the Dior or Galliano show two years ago and said it's your show Zandra. Suddenly I find out that half of the top designers in the world have been collecting my clothes, which is rather wonderful really.” Indeed as a forerunner in the use of reversed exposed seams, slashed silk and jersey, her signature Edwardian punk style is almost immediately recognizable upon reference.

Although imitation may proverbially be the highest form of flattery, for Rhodes it can be equally demoralising both in terms of personal and financial credit. Remember the infamous safety pins that clinched it for Liz Hurley in that Versace dress? “It's irritating”, she confesses but nevertheless her advice for freshmen entering the trade is wholly defiant. “Never give up. I mean you can't say that in anything now that there are a million jobs going because there aren't. So if you feel inspired and that's what you want to do then you don't give up. You go on doing it. That's how it works.”

Must say, I like some of her ''Glam Pop-Art... Blah... Blah... Blah... Collection
Spring/Summer 2004''

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02-01-2004
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regardless that i absolutely respect Zandra just for being herself i never really liked her 'design' style

ps: This journalist sounds a bit confused... Zandra is certainly not 'Queen of Punk' ... Vivienne Westwood is. (think McLaren & SexPistols)

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02-01-2004
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Yes, Vivienne Westwood was most certainly the Queen of Punk as in the actual punk-rock movement in the eighties. Maybe the journo is referring to more recent punks like Tracy Emin?

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02-01-2004
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Indeed, 'uncrowned' because she does not deserve.

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02-01-2004
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You're terrible, you know that, Strawberry Daiquiri? You're always making me go off topic...

HorribleOffTopicNessThatLenaWillKillMeFor: But didn't Westwood start designing before Zandra Rhodes?

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02-01-2004
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Designing as in matchstick people with funny hats, with fat dresses, with Crayola or the happy buzzing with the middle man and the consumer?

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02-01-2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by PrinceOfCats@Jan 2nd, 2004 - 5:43 pm
HorribleOffTopicNessThatLenaWillKillMeFor: But didn't Westwood start designing before Zandra Rhodes?
thats somehow ON topic your highness, so no, Zandra was there ages before Vivienne started out, i bet she's been designing since late sixties or something, she was at her top during late seventies (dressing London's love generation)

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02-01-2004
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I ahve always lvoed zandra, btu she is nto punk,s he played with punk but she is not punk.

Actually johnny Rotten and Vivienne have always hated her, in Johny's book he talks about how he hated her beging called punk.
hardcore sexpistols fan ehre

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03-01-2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spacemiu@Jan 3rd, 2004 - 5:54 am
Actually johnny Rotten and Vivienne have always hated her, in Johny's book he talks about how he hated her beging called punk.
well, i can understand why, she was so 'flower power' exactly the opposite from punk culture

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03-01-2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spacemiu@Jan 3rd, 2004 - 2:54 am
I ahve always lvoed zandra, btu she is nto punk,s he played with punk but she is not punk.

Actually johnny Rotten and Vivienne have always hated her, in Johny's book he talks about how he hated her beging called punk.
hardcore sexpistols fan ehre
spacemiu.......please check your spellings before you post
this is getting a little rediculous now

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03-01-2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Acid@Jan 3rd, 2004 - 2:19 pm
this is getting a little rediculous now
It's ridiculous...


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03-01-2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lena+Jan 3rd, 2004 - 1:53 am--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Lena @ Jan 3rd, 2004 - 1:53 am)</div><div class='quotemain'> <!--QuoteBegin-Spacemiu@Jan 3rd, 2004 - 5:54 am
Actually johnny Rotten and Vivienne have always hated her, in Johny's book he talks about how he hated her beging called punk.
well, i can understand why, she was so 'flower power' exactly the opposite from punk culture [/b][/quote]
I dount knwo abotu flwoer power, I guess it was more that she was makeing it high fashion when it was such a street/youth movment.

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05-01-2004
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Hello

Well, I don't think Zandra was "punk". She was very "glam", very "rock glam".

Let's not forget that Freddie Mercury (the Freddie from the 70s, the glam one, with long hair and no moustache) almost only had Zandra clothes!

Love, Phoebus

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27-03-2004
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What is your opinion on Zandra Rhodes?

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27-03-2004
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i don't know enough about her to have my own opinion...

i know she's english, eccentric and very well-respected for her innovative designs...i think she was big in the sixties...around the same time as mary quant, no? not sure, but i've always heard real fashion insiders speak highly of her work in the past...

?...

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