My exhibition Zandra Unseen at the Fashion and Textile Museum closed 31 August, 2013 to make way for the gorgeous Belville-Sassoon exhibit. Featuring the work of my dear friend David Sassoon (including dresses made for not only our beloved Princess Di but also Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, two beautiful women of impeccable taste).
Now: my adventures in California (San Diego, Pasadena), England (London and Liverpool), Mexico, Kuala Lampur and more... September to December 2013 (and a preview of 2014...)
Right now (2014) the FTM has an amazing new exhibit: tracing the history of 20th century textile design by showing rare examples by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse and other artists better known for working with canvas than fabric. Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol, opens 31 January and runs through 17 May, 2014. More than 200 pieces, many of which are being displayed for the first time, will detail the evolution of textile design, touching on examples from major 20th century art movements, including Fauvism, Cubism, Constructivism, Abstraction, Surrealism, and Pop Art.
But back to ME!!
The last few months of 2013 have simply been nonstop in the world of Zandra Rhodes. Dress show after dress show! One happening after another! In California I held my annual Westgate Hotel fundraiser show on behalf of the Fashion and Textile Museum... one of the many cultural and educational I love and support (it was great fun, except this year we decided to have the event on the rooftop around the pool, incidentally experiencing the only windy and grey day EVER in the San Diego calendar!)
No sooner had we completed the San Diego show- the very next day in fact- than I found myself at the Pasadena Museum of Art for Lunch with a Legend...and I was "the legend"! It was a treat to speak with a huge gathering of ladies of all ages. They wanted to talk about my work and my bridal dress on display for Pasadena Museum's exhibition: "I do! I do!"; a curated collection of iconic bridal pieces over the decades.
Then, back to Britain (for a whirlwind week's activities). David Sassoon joined me to guide Her Royal Highness, Princess Alexandra on a private tour of the Bellville Sassoon exhibition at the FTM to experience the 50 years of David's Dress Company. David is simply brilliant... I just wish English Vogue had given him a page to celebrate this enormous wonderful Englishman's talent has done for the UK fashion industry!
Whilst in London I assisted Mayor Boris Johnson with the Breast Cancer Awareness week, for which I am honoured to have been named Ambassador; I do hope that I can help in the Mayor's efforts to improve women's health. As Ambassador I was given a comprehensive tour around West London Charing Cross Hospital by Jane Miles, Deborah Cunningham, Julie Somers and Vickkie Harmer to hear about their advances in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and early detection is key... hence we all must help them increase the donations and funding for early detection through mammography. This innovative group is using social media for outreach to women and it is working!
Also during my time in London I was filmed for the launch of the new range of Heals Furnishing Fabrics. Will Hobhouse has instigated such an amazing revamping of the Heals Company. They are reprinting the textile design "Top Brass" which I sold to them in 1963! The store was buzzing! It is official: Mid-Century Modern is back.
Later that evening I went with Andrew Logan and friends to experience Bishi singing. The experience was absolutely amazing and psychedelic! Bishi is one of the most original of artists. This was an exotic international happening.
Saturday I visited Liverpool for a personal appearance at Boudoir Boutique in Liverpool, and a trunk show of my latest exotic evening bags. This was great fun; Louise, the owner of Boudoir Boutique, does such an absolutely fantastic job.
My week in England culminated with a spectacular dinner with John Drummond, David Day and friends at the incredible Garrick Club. in London. The walls are covered with paintings of the famous actors who have graced the English Stage. What a special evening!
THEN Back to California to finish off the year, literally physically carrying with me my collection of Historical Beaded dresses alongside my new black and white collection, all preparations for my show in Malaysia for Kuala Lumpur (KL) Fashion Weekend and the GREAT Campaign finale.
Perhaps I overdid it a bit... I had previously agreed to do a charity lecture for the Rancho Santa Fe Women's Fund in California, so rather than flying from London direct to KL I found myself circling the globe back to California for this "one night stand"! Maybe I am a bit crazy... but I DO keep my commitments!!!
On Friday, 8 November, I headed up to Los Angeles and flew round the other ½ of the world on my 18 hour journey to KL! Losing a day and a half, the 4:00 AM arrival wasn't enough to put off my fabulous hosts Janet Tee, curator at the National Textile Museum, and Alison and Tony Collingridge of the British High Commission. They were all there to greet me! I'm glad I replenished my makeup! Straight from the airport to the magnificent Majestic Hotel, as guest of Dato' Yeoh Soo Minn. My window overlooked the domed turretted railway station - it looked like a palace and in the far distance were the Petronas Towers! After a rest, I was met by Chetna, my design assistant and right-hand who had been flown here in advance in order to oversee the setup of the exhibition Zandra Rhodes: A Lifelong Love Affair with Textiles at the National Textile Museum. She has such a keen eye and makes sure everything looks perfect!
The official grand opening, complete with mini dress show, was on Tuesday, 12 November. Opened by Princess Ke Bawah Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Tenku Puan Pahang, whose sister-in-law wears my kaftans! Then radio, magazine and newspaper interviews to support the exhibition. The response was simply overwhelming! Then Dato' Jimmy Choo, infamous "shoe" star, flew into town to add even more glitz to the GREAT Campaign! A poster of me (what seemed 20 meters long!) was hanging right in the middle of the Petronus Tower Shopping Mall.
The great KL shopping week kicked off with a VIP party at the British High Commission residence. Miss World (Malaysia) wore my historical and iconic black punk dress as a finale to the Clarks Shoe Show wearing an enchanting pair of Clarks evening shoes. Gary Rhodes, world famous UK chef, was also a guest of honour and this particular night was creating masterpieces in the kitchen of the British High Commission Residence. How can I keep my weight down with all of this fab food!!? Both Gary and I come from the Medway Towns in Kent (home of Charles Dickens), and I suppose we should go into ancestry.com and see if we are in any way related!
Last day - sightseeing! Experiencing The City Gallery we were knocked out by their computer-generated wooden dioramas. Then a drive to the newly created capitol town of Putrajaya. Then to the airport for our midnight flight and back to London!
Well there you are... it is now January 2014 in San Diego: working like mad to put together a new show for one of San Diego's most popular charity fundraisers: "Go Red For Women", in La Jolla, California. This annual event is held to raise funds to support the American Heart Association's important efforts to prevent and cure heart disease in women worldwide... this frock will inspire me (I was very inspired by the Spanish reds in the 1980's...and I am again... developing an entirely new line...which will premier on 14 February, 2014 at the event... so you'll have to attend to get a first glimpse
And so it is bye for now,