Zandra Rhodes is the first fashion designer I became aware of as a child. I think I must have been 10 or 12 when I saw a picture of her in a magazine. I was captivated by her pink hair. I had never imagined that grown-ups could look like her. Certainly none of the mums in my neighbourhood did. I was also drawn to her clothes – long, flowing and bright. When an aunt sent me a colourful chiffon ‘butterfly’ top from Fiji I was in heaven. I flitted about channelling Zandra and dreaming of the day I could have pink hair. As a grown-up I’ve never pursued the pink hair, but have remained a Zandra Rhodes fan. As such I was delighted to see her name on the list of designers for Unveiled: 200 Years of Wedding Dress from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
While Zandra Rhodes is renowned for her dynamic and skilled use of colour – musician Brian Eno speaks of her bringing ‘dashes’ of Matisse to the fashion world – the Zandra Rhodes wedding dress in Unveiled is an exercise is sublty. It is rendered in the palest of tones, white on white with a hint of creamy yellow. The dress, I think, is simply the prettiest in the exhibition.
‘Zandra’s hand-printed chiffon creations of the early seventies brought a sense of flawless etheral beauty to an era that was mostly saying short, youthful, hard-edged and sexy’.Gaby Longhi Chautin