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
In 1973 Rhodes launched ’73/44′ – a very feminine printed chiffon dress characterised by a deep V neck, full skirt and satin sash. She has reinterpreted this popular design throughout her career. Despite its more demure and rounded neckline, this wedding dress from 1976 bears many of the characteristics that made 73/44 a hit.