October 12, 2016

Zandra Rhodes is BACK, courtesy of Valentino & Matches!

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Back in 2012, I was invited to Zandra Rhodes’ penthouse apartment, above the Fashion & Textile Museum, Bermondsey, she founded in 2003. We were a small group of journalists who were to spend the evening with Zandra, talking about and looking at her archive and her then current collection – a retrospective of seasons past that was touring round the country. (See my blog post here, and excuse the terrible layout, it was from an old template)

I remember her telling us that inside the huge silver trunks that sat in the middle of the room, which were covered in exquisite throws as a disguise, housed lots of her archive. In fact, she said, it was dotted all over her house. She made and served us dinner, on her amazing hand-painted china, and laughed and joked with us, telling us some fabulous stories from her life (she launched her label in 1969, and has dressed everyone from the late Princess Diana to Elizabeth Taylor).

I was totally enamoured by Zandra. Not least because of her shocking pink hair (it’s her signature, along with her prints), but because this is a woman who lives and breathes fashion – she has for decades – and is a legendary icon of the industry. I loved meeting her. I wondered why, then, people weren’t falling over themselves to collaborate with her on a collection inspired by her archive.

TA DA! SOMEONE HAS! Matchesfashion.com, you genius team! WELL DONE!

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For the first time, Zandra has reproduced some of her most iconic dresses for an exclusive collection with matchesfashion.com. They have been reproduced, printed and beaded by hand in her London atelier. Which I’ve also visited, and can safely say is one of the best places to spend a day: it’s all colourful fabric and colour printing blocks.

Zandra tells Matches:

‘I felt that people were interested in what I was doing and I was seeing quite a lot of copies. So when I went to the archive and I started pulling out things, I wanted to make sure they were reinvented in the right way… It’s wonderful to have new eyes looking at things and putting them out to the rest of the world. It’s been so thrilling recreating pieces to make them a bit more sexy, very easy to wear.’

You’ll find: the ‘Diana’ dress, originally made for the late Princess for one of her trips in 1986; the gold ‘Cleveland’ dress, similar to the piece worn by Pat at Studio 54 in 1981 (above); and the ‘Grace’ dress, named after her long-standing muse, Grace Coddington, which is embellished with 180 pink beads.

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Shop the full collection here…

In other Zandra Rhodes news, the designer was approached by Valentino to collaborate on a series of prints for its spring summer ’17 collection. The prints took inspiration from Hieronymous Bosch’s ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ as well as pieces taken from Zandra’s own archive. They were rendered in that super feminine, exquisite way that the House is famed for.

This collection is Piepaolo Piccioli’s first solo since Maria Grazia Chiuri’s departure to head up Dior. I’m not sure if it was because Piccioli just needed some help with designs, or he saw a chance to jump on the Zandra bandwagon, either way, it’s a GREAT move! A GENIUS one!

Here are some shots of the Zandra Rhodes’ designs for Valentino…

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Images from Matchesfashion.com and Vogue.com.