Evening Wear

Renowned primarily for her evening wear, Zandra Rhodes produced instantly identifiable garments that reflected the early 1970s preoccupation with a floating, unreconstructed silhouette. During this period printed textiles were an intrinsic element of fashion, and together with Celia Birtwell and Bernard Nevill, she was responsible for the multipatterned and colorful look that defined the era. Her inspiration is rooted in the use of autographic sketchbooks, where she researched primary sources such as organic matter and transformed the initial drawings into her signature style: abstract, loose, screen-printed, flowing forms that play with scale and vibrant color combinations, all handmade and often including her signature "squiggle." Prints occasionally include handwritten text; one of her pieces for the Ful-ham Road Clothes Shop was a blouse printed with the name of the shop on the collar and cuffs, an early use of the logo. Zandra Rhodes was one of the first designers to use the street-style punk look, reversing seams and using safety pins and tears for a dress in the 1977 Conceptual Chic collection. Her personal style has always reflected the flamboyant quality of her clothes. She accessorized her outfits with outsized jewelry and sported green, then pink hair, with emphatic eye makeup and multicolored face paint.

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