Known for her fabulously bold prints, the iconic British designer, Dame Zandra Rhodes, launched her eponymous fashion brand 56 years ago.

Nicknamed ‘The Princess of Punk’, Rhodes burst onto the fashion scene in the late 1960s and continues to work from her studio in London. Rhodes began as a printed textile designer and is renowned for perfecting the art-of-print as an intrinsic influence on garment shape. With dramatic designs and her own distinctive look, Rhodes paved the way for fashion as theatre and entertainment. Her illustrious career has seen her dress international stars including Freddie Mercury, Diana Ross and Barbara Streisand, and British Royalty, most notably, Princess Diana and Princess Anne.

Originally marked as creating designs that were ‘too extreme’, in the early 70s Rhodes left England to try and break the American market. Within a few weeks of arriving in New York she met Diana Vreeland who debuted Rhodes’ ‘Knitted Circle’ collection on Natalie Wood in American Vogue. The rest is history…

A pioneer of the British and international fashion scene since the late 60s, Rhodes’ career has seen her produce over five decades of fashion collections and more recently focus on strategic collaborations with fashion and lifestyle brands such as IKEA of Sweden, Happy Socks and Poppy Lissiman. In 2003, she founded London’s Fashion and Textile Museum, which to this day showcases some of the best in fashion and textile design.

More recently, in 2020, she formed the Zandra Rhodes Foundation, a charity that ensures future generations of designers, artists, researchers, students and educators are able to study her life and designs, with an emphasis on her methods and techniques. Dating from the mid 1960s to the current day, the Foundation is working to catalogue her six thousand garments, printed textiles, drawings, accessories, fashion films, kodatraces, silk screens, press cuttings, personal memorabilia and collected artworks. A central collection will stay with the Foundation and the remaining material will be donated to permanent collections of major museums across the world, including the Fashion and Textile Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

© 2019 Zandra Rhodes