Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Art of Zandra Rhodes - Part II[1]
Wearable Art

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

For your convenience I have listed below another post in this series:
The Art of Zandra Rhodes - Part I

Introduction [1]
Zandra Rhodes is first and foremost a textile print designer. Several years of her selling her unique and forward thinking print designs after her graduation from the Royal College of Art in 1964 had mixed results. Her work with fashion designers had led her to believe that most of them were unable to recognised the potential of a print to enhance and enrich a garment. In the main, what they did was to merely to cut up all the existing fabric.

Zandra Rhodes.

Eventually Rhodes took the leap and created her first collection in 1969. Inspired by cuts and shapes of ethnic clothing, she began the process of developing garments that followed the shape of the textile print itself. An autodidact when it came to fashion design, Rhodes' work was so original precisely because of this. She did not follow the conventions of pattern cutting and dressmaking because she never studied these except at school so Rhodes had a totally different viewpoint when creating fashion design. This allowed for an entirely fresh approach to the construction of clothing. Other fashion designers made patterns to create the silhouette. With Zandra's technique, the cutting of the design out of the printed textile lead to the creation of the shape. Hers is non-constructive clothing, where the print is the dominating factor that dictates the design of the resulting dress.

Zandra and Ben Scholten reviewing a newly printed fabric.

When studying her work of this period, we begin to see the development of Rhodes' hallmark. She has allowed the motifs and inherent shapes of her print design to dictate the silhouettes of her clothing. In this way lines and circles become necklines and sleeves, repeats and edges are cut around to become shape edges of jackets and dresses. This idea continues to be explored in the collections of the House of Sandra Rhodes, and has been an integral part of her designs over the years.

Backstage. Model Nell Campbell and Leonard of London (1977).

The Art of Zandra Rhodes - Part II

Kaftan, 1970, Style 70/32.

Coat, 1969, Style 223.
Circular coat, combining one-color 'Diamond and Roses' and two color 'Knitted Circle' prints on yellow felt; skirt consists of one large circle; stitched collar with cords and wooden beads.

Jacket 1971, Style 71/23.
'Dinosaur' jacket in yellow wool felt in 'Button Flower' print with appliquéd motifs at neck, with wide zigzag edges as decorative outside seams.

Dress 1969, Style 22.
Dress in quilted yellow satin in 'Knitted Circle' print with front panel sleeves, and bodice in Wiggle Square' print.

Kaftans Overview.

One Kaftan (Detail View).
Kaftan, 1970, Style 70/10.
Kaftan in 'Indian Feather Border; print on red silk chiffon; separable strips of 'Feather Border' hanging from ruched yoke and sleeves gathered horizontally; trimmed with velvet ribbons.

Coat, 1971, Style 71/34.
Coat dress in quilted satin in 'Frilly' and 'Button Flower' print. The pattern is arranged in three rows in the 'Frilly' print. The skirt is made from 13 complete circles. The first consisting of one circle, the second of three circles nd the third of nine circles. The sleeves printed with'Button Flower' print. Plain black satin bodice with appliquéd 'Button Flower' motif.

Indian Sari Collection.

G. Monsef, D. Nothdruff and R. de Niet, Zandra Rhodes – A Lifelong Love Affair With Textiles, Zandra Rhodes Publications (2009).