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- Zandra Lindsey Rhodes
- Kent England
- United Kingdom
- Fashion Designer
Zandra Rhodes was introduced to the world of fashion by her mother, who was a fitter in a Paris fashion house and a teacher at Medway College of Art, now the University for the Creative Arts. Rhodes studied first at Medway and then at the Royal College of Art in London. Her major area of study was printed textile design.
Her early textile fashion designs were considered outrageous by the traditional British manufacturers.
Between 1966 and 1969, Zandra Rhodes and a fellow student, Sylvia Ayton, opened a boutique together called the Fulham Road Clothes Shop. Sylvia Ayton designed the clothing and Rhodes supplied the textile designs from which they were made. In 1969, Rhodes and Ayton went their separate ways, with Rhodes establishing her own retail outlet in the fashionable Fulham Road in West London. Rhodes' own lifestyle has proved to be as dramatic, glamorous and extrovert as her designs. With her bright green hair (later changed to a pink and sometimes red or other colours), theatrical makeup and art jewelry, she stamped her identity on the international world of fashion.
Rhodes was one of the new wave of British designers who put London at the forefront of the international fashion scene in the 1970s. Her designs are considered clear, creative statements, dramatic but graceful, bold but feminine. Rhodes' inspiration has been from organic material and nature. Her approach to the construction of garments can be seen in her use of reversed exposed seams and in her use of jeweled safety pins and tears during the punk era.
Rhodes designed for Diana, Princess of Wales, and continues to design for royalty and celebrities. She notably designed several of famous costumes for Freddie Mercury of Queen. She has a strong following in the USA, UK, and Australia. Over the years, she has had many academic and professional honours bestowed upon her and was made a Commander of the British Empire by the Queen in 1997.