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Punk to Princess Di to 2013 Latest Couture Pieces

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So much is happening! I have been working in London, California, India and soon Malaysia, and the work is so varied. Designing textiles for everything from gowns to tents, and developing new leather products. I have discovered new ways to transform my personal sketches into vibrant (and I do think rather chic) new dresses. Finally I have been working very hard to help advance some important social and medical charitable efforts.

But first let me update you about about my retrospective at the Fashion and Textile Museum which closes August 31, so do try to visit. The show is called:

1. FTM Zandra Rhodes: Unseen, and it opened at the Fashion and Textile Museum the evening of 11 July, 2013, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the FTM.

My dear friend Andrew Logan (the sculptor) and I cut the ribbon to open the show with a giant pair of scissors!

Let me share a little background about assembling the exhibit... It was a difficult task to decide what should be shown. Eventually, we decided the ground floor should show the key pieces of my all-over beaded dresses from spectacular shows of the absolutely fabulous 1980s (all starting from a marvellous trip to India for the Indian Government in 1981). To provide a complete contrast, so we hung black and white banners of my various handscreened prints as the backdrop. Projected onto the upper walls of the exhibition are videos of my 80s shows running continuously, showing young students how models walked and acted then!

Well, there is a reason people refer to me as the 'Princess of Punk'. In 1977 I presented my Conceptual Chic collection which featured dresses with tears, holes and chains. Though at the time it was not a huge commercial success, I consider this collection a landmark in my career... after all, the wedding dress is currently in the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. So, though it took a while for the work to be fully appreciated, I feel validated! On the mezzanine level we have built a 'runway' with a torn jersey 'punk' curtain as a backdrop to a number of punk themed dresses and gowns.

Finally, my sketchbook dresses, which originated by using drawings from my own sketchbooks and blowing them up to make playful summer frocks, are on display. These are the latest chapter in my career. I carry a sketchbook everywhere and whether I am having tea or walking with my friends in the California chaparral, I am always sketching the world around me.

Now my very personal sketches of landscapes and wild flowers and desert plants have been scanned, digitized and printed in vivid colors on beautiful cloth, and I have made short, tailored, form fitting dresses. They really are something new and different, and I have been getting very positive comments! These were, up until this exhibition, unseen by the press!

To crystallize the variety of my work, three of Andrew Logan's sculptures were used in amongst the dresses. One was from Andrew's Museum of Sculpture in Wales and was a fantasmagorical Zandra as a wobbly Indian doll! The mirrored head of Zandra is a copy of the one in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

'Zandra Rhodes: Unseen' at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London has been getting lots of great visitors also!

I was thrilled that the fabulous Anna Sui was able to visit, but of course disappointed that I could not show her around personally.

The FTM was not always in the most fashionable neighborhood, ironically. But now Bermondsey Street is bustling with quaint shops and lovely restaurants. And of course the tallest building in Europe, the Shard, sparkles and gleams in the sky nearby.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to dinner at the Shard (London's Eiffel Tower) in their fabulous new restaurant complex. From the spectacular view I could see the roof of the Fashion and Textile Museum! How exciting! It is so visible that I am now getting the logo painted on the roof so that everyone visiting the Shard can see it!

I have much more going on that I want to share... next time I shall tell you about adventures with shoes! So it is bye for now...

ZR

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