Textile Auntie: Zandra Rhodes

Every day, Lisa and I say to one another that there’s no way we could be doing this whole textile evolution without Holly. And almost every day, Holly says that everyone should study surface design at CCA, as she did.

Holly also boasts the supreme experience of having worked with Zandra Rhodes last summer in the costume department of the SF Opera. Zandra’s work is a major inspiration to us all. Recently, I was fortunate to come across a great textile design book on her–Zandra Rhodes: Textile Revolution: Medals, Wiggles and Pop 1961-1971. Get!

Not only does the book come with a sticker sheet (!), the bounty of great pics within is overwhelming.

On a output level, I appreciate the threads of continuity in her work–lady’s bossed the wiggle motif since her college days. She would also combine specific aspects of existing designs to make new patterns with totally different feels. On the process level, as at the Sonia Delaunay show, it’s so interesting to see examples of her work in sketch form, various colorways on fabric, and then images of the finished garments from glamorous photo shoots.

From zee book: “Zandra Rhodes modeling Medal Bows full-length paper panel design. She would paint the full-scale textile design on paper cutting holes in the top of it subsequently trying it on to see how the print looked on the body. SIA Journal, No. 137., July 1964.” She went on to combine ribbons, stars, and explosions to create a host of different designs.

These are all iterations of Medal, Bows and Stars, 1964. Pushed to an even more nuts level, they became Gala, 1964, below:

Then came a simplification, Zigzag Medal Bows:

Another book caption: “Zigzag Medal Bows, five-colour print on rayon crepe for Foale and Tuffin, 1965. Based on an earlier panel design Zandra Rhodes created at the [Royal College of Art] this incarnation has been simplified to suit the label’s needs. It was made into a trendy halterneck jumpsuit and photographed by Helmut Newton for British Vogue the same year, the first of Rhodes’s prints to be featured in the magazine.” Um….

I was particularly pleased to pick up her try on the paper tip.

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