We noticed some new trends on the King’s Road over the past week… garden inspired shop-fronts, beautiful floral dresses and new visitors to Chelsea Library, who are exploring the area whilst visiting the Chelsea Flower Show. Surrounded by so much floral beauty and enthusiasm, we’ve also caught the flower fever and been inspired to explore fashion and flowers in our Costume & Fashion collection.
The Chelsea Flower show in the 1920s:
And we love this image of the flower show in 1918, showing off the fashions of the time:
In our Vogue magazine archives we found lots of garden-inspired illustrations, fashions and adverts from the May and June issues in the 1920s. In May 1926, as well as checking out the flower show, here is what you mind find shopping along Sloane Street:
And from the same month, an illustration of a fashionable garden of the time:
And when it rains…
We liked this arty picture from Vogue May 1924, with the shadows of trees in the background, entitled Flowered crepe is a medium of the mode:
In June 1929, a model poses in a rock garden:
In fact, everywhere we looked in the May and June Vogue issues we found flowers and gardens. Here is Twiggy in May 1967 and on her dress is a “Pyramid Myriad of Flowers, triangles of tiny multi colored ones….”:
In the 60s Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell had a chic Chelsea boutique Quorum, and we found this great floral design of theirs from 1968:
Fast forward again to May 1988, a budding affair:
We hope you enjoyed taking a quick browse through the flowers and fashions at Chelsea Library. There is lots more to discover in the library and online, in the Berg Fashion Library Online, which you can access for free with your library card.
Have you ever looked at old family photographs from before 1940 and wondered what they could tell you? I found out that they can give a direct connection into the lives of the people portrayed in them through the clothes that people wore.
In an absolutely fascinating presentation at Chelsea Library in late October by the fashion expert and author Jayne Shrimpton, I learnt about history of fashion in ordinary family photographs.
In the nineteenth century photography was a cutting edge technology, but by the early twentieth century photography became more accessible with the advent of the Box Brownie camera. This meant that ordinary families could start to take their own photos and as a result pictures were more informal and can give us more information on the daily lives and fashion preference of our forebears. This eventually began to replace the more formal professional images often printed on postcards done in a studio setting.
Jayne showed us that by reading the fashions in a photograph correctly you can date images, but you can also study the history of fashion by looking at the images.
Fashion a hundred years ago was moving away from the formal and quite restrictive styles of the late Victorian era.The period between 1910-14 saw the development of a much more practical style with the introduction of shirts and ties for working women, and the gradual raising of hemlines. That fashion staple the pencil skirt first appeared. It was during this time the lounge suit for men began to appear and moustaches became all the rage.
Women of all classes would dress for formal occasions, and we saw some great images of women in afternoon dress of linen or cotton, wearing extremely large hats and gloves even when taking tea with their neighbours outside the back door.
Children’s clothing began to change: some of the photos we were shown had little boys still dressed as girls until they were of an age to be “ breeched”, when they would start to wear trousers or even shorts. By 1914 girl’s dress was moving towards a more boyish or more practical style, maintaining their femininity by wearing a huge bow on the side of their heads.
The development of more active life styles led to the development of sportswear and also influenced the introduction of knitwear for a more casual look. Jayne showed us images of specific clothing for cycling, golf, and tennis and for the more wealthy and intrepid ski-ing and skating outfits
During World War One women’s garments became shorter, they began to cut their hair shorter and the overall look was much looser. Many young women undertook war work whether in factories or in the Women’s Land Army (est. 1917), where for the first time women wore breeches or jodphurs, covered by an overall coat to maintain modesty. Of course after the war it was straight back to wearing skirts.
When dating your family photographs Jayne advise looking not only the rise and fall of hemlines, but also what people are doing and what is in the background, for example the modes of transport, so if there is a car you can often date the image from the make and model.
In the 1920s people still “Dressed to Impress” but studio images were in decline and these would only be taken for special occasions such as weddings, christenings etc. In these images as Jayne explained, you can see a history of fashion through the generations with older women still wearing black floor length gowns and their daughters and granddaughters in more contemporary clothes and hairstyles.
By the late twenties and early thirties the photos showed another shift for both men and women. This is particularly true of sport and leisure wear. During this period it became increasingly fashionable to have a suntan and as a result women’s bathing costumes began to change from the modest and concealing fashions of the early 20’s to the much skimpier versions with cutaway sections by the 30’s, and other beachwear clothes such as the introduction of beach pyjama’s.
Men’s swimwear generated some discussion after the presentation because men used to swim in the nude but with the introduction of mixed bathing this was no longer acceptable. By late Victorian times they were wearing trunks but with a vest section which everyone agreed was to hold the trunks up as they were of a knitted fabric . Most of us may have heard a story from our grandparents about their swimwear being so wet and heavy it fell down when they came out of the water!
During this time men’s began to wear informal styles, flannel trousers, sports jumpers, plus fours, and even on occasion shorts. Three piece suits became more relaxed, and had a boxier style; pinstripes were popular as was the Trilby hat.
Women’s and girl’s hemlines rose even further to knee length and their hair became shorter. Knitwear became an established part of dress and new fabrics such as jersey and rayon enabled more women to look stylish and modern and to keep up with the latest trends.
I went home after the talk and dug out some of the family photos and looked at them with renewed interest- large hats, hairstyles, hemlines, were all there and as a result of Jayne’s talk I was able to get a better idea of the dates.
If you are interested in fashion, or forthcoming fashion related events, why not join our mailing list by e-mailing your name and contact details to email@example.com. Or, if you follow this blog, you will see regular features on our fashion and costume collection, and you can look at photographic images from our archives in our local studies Library Time Machine blog.
With thanks to Jayne Shrimpton, who allowed us to use her images here. You can find these photos, and much more, in her book Family Photographs & How to Date Them.
Shrimpton, Jayne. Family Photographs & How to Date Them. (Berkshire: Countryside Books, 2008) pp.123, 138, 161 and 163.
Chelsea Reference Library had a bit of space on the wall above our costume collection, and what better way to fill it than with some beautiful images from our fashion and costume periodicals?
Staff at the library were asked to pick their favourite images from a shortlist, and choosing was tricky! The images, depicting costume spanning the Regency and Victorian eras, were all picked from our own magazine archives of La Belle Assemblee, The English Woman’s Domestic Magazine and Les Modes Parisiennes. We like the fact that the winners show how the shapes and styles of fashionable dress changed over 5 decades:
Classical Greece influenced dress was at the height of fashion in 1808, featuring a high empire waist line and long straight skirts. Woman dampened the muslin draperies so that they clung to their figure!
This evening dress from 1812 features a great turban – indoor caps for daywear weren’t that fashionable in this era but essential for evening wear and turbans were a very popular choice.
By 1928 a very different silhouette was in fashion –with so called leg-o’-mutton sleeves and skirts with tiny waists and wide bases. Check out the elaborate trimmings and hats!
By the 1850’s ladies skirts were so domed that they had to be supported by hoped cages called crinolines and lots of petticoats.
And then by the 1870’s the fashion was to have a flat front of the skirt, with lots of fabric pushed to the back… called a bustle. This image features a popular style called the Dolly Varden (Charles Dickens fans will get the reference) – where you have an overskirt which is shorter at the front with the sides and back bunched up.
Here are a few other images that were on the shortlist but didn’t make the final cut. We hope you like our choices!
The colours of these prints are really vibrant even after all these years, but we also loved seeing some amazing pictures of the actual fabrics in one of the books that we have in our collection – Nineteenth-Century Fashion in Detail by Lucy Johnston published by Victoria & Albert Museum:
To find out a bit about costume in this era we also read History of Women’s Costume by Marion Sichel. Come along to Chelsea Library to find lots more about the world of Costume and Fashion, or log on to Berg Online with your library card!
As it’s World Book Day, we thought we’d take the chance to show off some of our latest aquisitions from the Chelsea Library fashion collection…any excuse really!
From Vogue: the Editor’s Eye,(edited by Eva MacSweeney, 2012), a glossy new purchase full of fantastic images. This photograph is by Annie Leibovitz, from December 2003.
This image is from Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! (edited by Alistair O’Neill, 2013), a publication that accompanied her fabulous collection, photographed by Nick Knight at Blow’s ancestral home.
Another new purchase… Avedon Fashion, 1944-2000, a book encompassing seven decades of extraordinary images by phographer Richard Avedon. This black-and-white shot was taken in 1959.
Naomi Campbell races a cheetah in Hair: Fashion and Fantasy by Laurent Philippon, 2013. Photographed by Jean Paul Goude, another striking image found on our shelves.
Looking through the large scale images in these books is a great way to appreciate some amazing work. As well as our shiny new books, our costume collection also contains some treasures from a bygone age… fashion from before the birth of photography even. The contrast between fashion images then and now is astonishing.
These old volumes are really tactile things that we love to pore over. Do come along to the library to have a look! Happy World Book Day!
Hair: Fashion and Fantasy by Laurent Philippon, 2013
I have been looking through David Sassoon’s marvellous book in Chelsea Reference Library. I’d seen Bellville Sassoon gowns at the V&A’s Ballgowns exhibition last year, but nothing prepared me for the out-and-out glamour of the Bellville Sassoon exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum (ends 11 January 2014).
Bellville Sassoon was founded in 1953 as Bellville et Cie by Belinda Bellville. Sassoon joined in 1958 Lorcan Mullany joined in 1987. It’s the people who wear the clothes that are of interest to me. You need an occasion to wear such glamorous outfits. So who wears Bellville Sassoon? As Britain’s foremost couture label from the 1960s onwards, Bellville Sassoon have dressed many of the world’s most stylish women, including Diana, Princess of Wales.
Many well known clients of Belleville Sassoon had lent dresses for the exhibition: Lady Shakira Caine, Cilla Black, Minnie Churchill, Angela Rippon, Lady Jane Rayne, Lady Anne Glendower, Lady Woolf, Baroness Fiona von Thyssen, Gaby Harris-Lyons and Brazilian socialite, Renee Behar.
Princess Diana, Princess Alexandra, Princess Michael of Kent, the Duchess of Kent and Princess Margaret were also clients. Princess Diana needed a dress for her engagement to Prince Charles. A formidable member of staff in Bellville Sassoon didn’t recognize her and suggested Harrods might be more appropriate. When David Sassoon found out, he was horrified.
She did return to Bellville Sassoon to purchase a number of outfits, including the one below:
The Princess of Wales arrives for a 1993 film premiere in Bellville Sassoon’s little black dress, with beaded jewelled straps, one of the glamorous evening dresses that were auctioned at Christie’s New York in 1997.
From an interview with David Sassoon in the Sunday Telegraph February 17 2013:
Another sketch, for a claret taffeta dress with bows, shows her enthusiasm to have the dress made up, with the words “Yes please!” next to the design, which she subsequently wore to the opening of the Barbican Centre with the Queen in March 1982, when she was six months pregnant.
“We had to let it out at the very last minute because her bump had suddenly grown,” said Sassoon. “She was very excited about the baby but also conscious of looking appropriate for the occasion during her pregnancy.”
Bellville Sassoon are also famous for their wedding gowns. In April 1971 when Sarah Donaldson-Hudson married Nicholas Haydon at Caxton Hall, she wore Bellville Sassoon, but as she was marrying a divorcee, her mother forbade her to wear white. She wore a hand-painted coat, lined with silk, which had graced the pages of Vogue in November 1970.
Sarah Donaldson-Hudson on her wedding day with Dorothy Donaldson-Hudson and Lt. Col. Ralph Davies-Cooke 23 April 1971:
And the coat as it appeared in Vogue, 1970:
Bordered and panelled with exquisite flowers from a Persian miniature. Designed and printed by Richard Cawley and Andrew Whittle, who painted the boots by hand to match.
The coat proved to be very popular. The Glamour of Bellville Sassoon reproduced an article from Women’s Wear Daily 6 October 1970. Rajputana was ordered by ‘a tall member of the Royal Family’, but the name was not to be revealed. Baroness Fiona Von Thyssen (former fashion modelFiona Campbell-Walter) also ordered this costume.
The Indian theme continues. In The Glamour of Bellville Sassoon, David Sassoon has a picture of Lady Londonderry wearing one of his Indian inspired costumes (in the December 1974 issue of Harpers & Queen, alongside the original picture, her name is given as Mrs Clive Powell. At the time of publication, she was married to Georgie Fame, a pop star, and Clive Powell was his real name.)
Mrs Powell wears blue and coral printed silk georgette long sleeveless dress embroidered in gold, with wide waistband and gathered skirt. Matching printed and embroidered cardigan, with gold sequins.
More famous clients dressed by Sassoon:
My favorite is the evening dress with gold lame spots on black chiffon:
This was made in 1996 and is in the V&A collection: T.76-1997. In the exhibition, it stands in a glass case, the fabric spreading out in a sumptuous puddle of almost liquid fabric.
You have until 11 January 2014 to visit The Glamour of Bellville Sassoon. Make it a New Year’s resolution!
From Chelsea Reference Library
Vogue from 1923 – current issue
Queen from 1949 – 1970
Harpers & Queen 1971 – current issue
For a full list of newspapers and how long we keep them, click here
Friday the 8 November 2013 will be memorable for any number of people for the chaos on the tube. For me, it was the eve of my birthday and I had booked to attend a talk at the Victoria & Albert Museum that was part of their Club to Catwalk exhibition. The line up was Caryn Franklin, Toyah Willcox and Karen Binns. They complimented each other perfectly, bringing their thoughts, ideas and experiences to a discussion on women who developed, fused and influenced fashion and music in 1980s London.
Caryn Franklin MBE is former Fashion Editor and Co-Editor of i-D Magazine. I immediately remembered her from The Clothes Show. In the Evening Standard Lifestyle Magazine (Print edition: 5 July 2013 ) Caryn writes:
‘There was never any talk of celebrity or success, only credibility and who had it. The style magazines i-D, The Face and Blitz were a triumvirate of street and music fanzines aimed at those with aspirations, attitudes and pretensions to creative grandeur. i-D is still headed by Terry Jones, who gave me my very first job. He put Madonna on the cover before anyone knew who she was. Channel 4’s Swank and Network 7, both programmes I worked on, were appetisers to the BBC’s The Clothes Show. I joined in 1986 with Jeff Banks and Selina Scott, and we covered everything from street style to John Galliano’s earliest work. The Clothes Show reached 157 million homes worldwide for 12 years. And with only four TV channels in the UK, at 5pm on Sunday it was rugby or us.’
‘In a career spanning thirty years Toyah has had thirteen top 40 singles, recorded twenty albums, written two books, appeared in over forty stage plays, made ten feature films and presented such diverse television programmes as The Good Sex Guide Late, Watchdog and Songs Of Praise. Toyah’s influences for her costumes were the Masai, Kabuki and the Mexican day of the dead amongst others. Clothing was like an armour, protective.’ (quote from www.toyahwillcox.com).
Karen is from Brooklyn and has worked as a fashion stylist in the pop and fashion industry. She has styled Tori Amos for 20 years. She is also editor and publisher at WHAT MAGAZINE. Karen described how things were in the 80s:
‘There was no internet or social media. The clubs were the place to see and be seen. You would use clothes to read each other. There were no courses for stylists. Fashion courses were aimed at those wishing to be designers. You proved your worth using your own personal style and your ability to get attention for the right reason at the right time.There was no copying, individuality ruled – if you saw it on someone else, you got rid of it fast.’
As soon as I got into work on the following Monday, I started my research. Chelsea Reference Library has the V&A book that accompanies the exhibition, From Club to Catwalk: 80s Fashion by Sonnet Standfill, V&A Publishing 2013.
This encapsulates the period with plenty of images – including a cover of i-D magazine:
From Club to Catwalk has a number of picture credits citing articles in Vogue and Harpers and Queen magazine.
What you see below are two pictures taken from a whole spread that appeared in the magazine. The costume collection at Chelsea Reference Library has Harpers and Queen and Vogue, so you can compare colour plates reproduced in the book with complete article as it appeared in the magazine, giving an added dimension to any research project! Below is a page from Club to Catwalk which helpfully gives the magazine title, month and year. In this case:
You can see here the full page spread that the book doesn’t give you – plus a chance to read the whole piece.
The trend for street style was reflected in Vogue’s Peacock Parade, featuring pictures of London’s punks and clubbers:
From Vogue September 1983:
‘Street fashion in London is in fine exhibitionist form. No capital in the world harbours such strange, eclectic, individual diversity of appearance. Apparel and appurtenance. Within this kerbside court. Fantasy selves pose and posture, defiance is by design and disguise is a mode of recognition.’
So if you want to refine your own personal aesthetic, why not give Chelsea Reference Library a try?
Vogue from 1923 – current issue
Queen from 1949 – 1970
Harpers & Queen 1971 – current issue
From Club to Catwalk: 80s Fashion by Sonnet Standfill, V&A Publishing 2013
We Can Be Heroes: punks, poseurs, peacocks and people of a particular persuasion. London Clubland 1976-1984 by Graham smith and Chris Sullivan
When We Were Young – Derek Ridgers: Club and Street Portraits 1978-1987 by Val Williams
Fashion Now – i-D selects the Worlds 150 most important designers by Terry Jones
1977 was the year I became the infamous High Princess of Punk – the darling and the damned of the media, but mostly the latter. In fact what I was doing wasn’t Punk, but I can’t say that it was that it had nothing to do with it, I called Conceptual Chic – but the press as a voice hailed it as Punk and that’s where it stuck.
It was a journey into London street culture, that’s true, but as in everything I do there where many influences at work, some lurking away in my subconscious, some staring me in the face, openly challenging me.
Another of the designers featured in the V&A’s exhibition was Dame Vivienne Westwood, a key figure in the Punk movement. Her partner was Malcolm McLaren, inventor of the Sex Pistols.
From Vogue, August 1987. Article by Liz Jobey
The Queen of the King’s Road arrived on a bicycle. She was wearing a dark grey botany wool twinset with matching sash from her latest collection, a thick cotton knee-length dirndl skirt in red and white, pale grey tights, a pair of square-toed triple tongued grey leather lace-up hip-hop shoes left over from the Hobo year of 1984, and a single string of pearls. She parked under the World’s End clock, it’s backwards whizzing hand stilled before opening time. She was sorry she was late.
Shops in King’s Road
A selection of Westwood shops from Vivienne Westwood by Catherine McDermott.
Her first shop was Let It Rock, on the premises of Paradise Garage, further down the King’s Road.
[People] from all over the country, flocked to the shop. In the years that followed, they were replaced by punks fighting for bondage trousers in the mid 1970’s.
Before that it had been Sex, and Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die; after it became World’s End. McLaren had the ideas and Vivienne carried them through.
When she began designing, Westwood adapted existing styles. ‘One day I put a hole for the neck in a T-shirt just here’ – indicating just above the breast – ‘and I knew it would do something with the body in an extremely sexy way. All those ripped things came from picture’s we’d seen of film stars looking really sexy in ripped clothes.
Vivienne Westwood clothes, Harper’s February 1985
Vivienne Westwood clothes, Harper’s February 1985
Above images from Harpers & Queens, February 1985
Six years later, in the October 1993 issue of Vogue, we see Queen Viv, (at that time she was an OBE – Westwood advanced to Dame in 2006 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II) when interviewed by Yvonne Roberts wearing:
check pyjamas, white socks, lots of gold chains, white blonde hair. She has a beautiful unmade-up face, long graceful fingers, pale orange eyebrows like delicate tracks in the desert and smokes enough Gitanes to kill off the entire Foreign Legion.
Way Out West
Queen Viv is wearing a full satin skirt, matching fitted jacket, gold and diamante earrings and matching choker.
Shoes by Judith Miller
Her shoes are distinctive, and as well as high heels and platforms her bold imagination reinterprets classic forms. Take, for example, this ghillie – an exaggerated interpretation of a traditional Scottish shoe.
However such style can result in catastrophe – supermodel Naomi Campbell stumbled and fell on the catwalk while modelling a pair of super elevated ghillie platforms with 9-inch heels and 4 inch platforms at Westwood’s 1993 fall-winter Anglomania collection in Paris.
Wearing Vivienne Westwood’s high heels – combined with slippery cream rubber stockings they made this a show to remember.
Killer Westwood heels
Naomi Campbell falls
Vogue August 1987 Classic Good Looks
Westwood is also well known for using classic British fabrics such as Harris Tweed, tartan and Scottish cashmere.
Vivienne Westwood, focussing on the admirably staunch image of the Queen, on Harris Tweed. Velvet collars and princess coats and liberty bodices, allows women to appear both part of tradition and romantically, rather sexily modern.
The author of the article, Georgina Godley, says
‘British women are beginning to see fashion subjectively, not dressing for men anymore, but for themselves and other women. They have been given freedom at last, a passport to doing their own thing.
Changing the guard: Vivienne Westwood’s about turn with that traditional British uniform, the suit, throwing a few contemporary curves with peplum and Peter Pan collar, scarlet Harris wool and black velvet, gilt buttons down the back, at World’s End, 430 Kings Road SW10.
Switch on traditional country clothes and colours: velvet-collared princess coat, new and not entirely well behaved, in Vivienne Westwood’s russet Harris Tweed, cut short to curve and flare out at the back, the velveteen collar and pockets flecked with Lurex, at Worlds end as before.
Westwood in Vogue, 1980s – 1990s
Looking at Westwood’s coverage in Vogue through the late 80’s and early 90’s, the collections continue to be very British and very sexy.
Vogue, February 1988
Vogue, February 1992
If you want to find out more, Chelsea Reference Library’s fashion and costume collection has the above editions of Vogue and Harpers & Queen and an extensive collection of books.
In the library or the comfort of your own home, with a library card you can access Westwood’s design in the Berg Fashion Library online.
Further reading – all titles can be found in the Costume Collection at Chelsea Reference Library:
To celebrate London Fashion Week in September for the Spring /Summer 2014 collections we have some fantastic fashion events in two of our libraries.
Dressed to Impress: London Fashion in the 1960s
Wednesday 11 September, from 2pm at Chelsea Library
Join Archives for London to ‘get the skinny’ on the groovy threads and glamorous glad-rags that were worn by the Beautiful People in one of the most happening cities in the world.
2pm – A number of speakers from the Museum of London, Liberty and Central Saint Martins will be providing talks and reminiscing about influence of the King’s Road and Carnaby Street. There will also be a demonstration of the Berg Fashion Library – an online resource which is accessible through the library service.
5.15pm – An opportunity to view a display of archival images from the period.
6pm – A walk conducted by Chelsea Walks along the King’s Road highlighting the location of pivotal boutiques such as ‘Granny Takes a Trip’, ‘Bazaar’ and ‘The Sweet Shop’.
Dressed to Impress: London Fashion in the 1960s – exhibition
Monday 2 September to Friday 13 September at Chelsea Library
Come and see images from Archives for London and our Local Studies collection illustrating this exciting time in fashion in swinging London.
Fashion – Press the Fast Forward Button
Tuesday 24 September, 6.30 to 8pm at Kensington Central Library
Are you interested in the fashion industry? Thinking of starting a fashion business as a designer, retailer, importer or exporter? Then don’t miss this opportunity to hear from expert fashion management consultant David Jones and successful designer and entrepreneur Francesca Marcenaro.
David Joneshas worked in the fashion industry for 40 years and for the last 15 years has run his own consultancy specialising in fashion. Born in Italy, Francesca Marcenaro is passionate about the ancient art of her country. She designs and crafts jewellery in her workshops in London.This session is in partnership with Colin Rutt from Portobello Business Centre.
Please book your free place to this talk at Kensington Central Library.
Explore the Berg Fashion Library
Wednesday 18 September, 2 to 4pm at Chelsea Reference Library
There’s fashion at your fingertips with our amazing database the Berg Fashion Library. We’ve a training session that’ll show you how to explore this resource which has fashion information from around the world and throughout history.
Places are limited so book you free place soon at Chelsea Reference Library on 020 7361 3010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Working at Chelsea Library, with unlimited access to the Costume Collection, my interest in fashion has been revitalised. With the final days of my National Art Pass discount to be used, I went along to the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey Street, SE1. If you’ve not been – here’s a great description of the museum taken from their website:
The Fashion and Textile Museum is a cutting edge centre for contemporary fashion, textiles and jewellery in London. Founded by iconic British designer Zandra Rhodes, the centre showcases a programme of changing exhibitions exploring elements of fashion, textile and jewellery as well as the Academy which runs courses for creative students and businesses.
This pink chiffon and pearl dress with a zig zag hem was worn in Japan and was sold at a sale of Princess Diana’s garments at Chrisities.
Years earlier I attended a talk at the Commonwealth Institute given by Zandra Rhodes and I was interested to find out more. Back at Chelsea Reference Library I trawled through the back issues of Vogue and Harpers. I even put together a display in Chelsea Gallery (part of Chelsea Reference Library) of the materials I found to write this post.
There’s some great information about Zandra Rhodes on Voguepedia:
When she realized her prints were too bold and boisterous for other designers, Rhodes began crafting clothing, as well. Still, she never lost sight of the methodical approach that she learned in textiles. For early collections, she visited the Victoria and Albert Museum and studied ethnic costume in the field. With a scholarly eye, she filled her sketchbook with drawings of Maasai warriors in Kenya, cacti from the Mojave Desert, Australian rock formations, and even celestial bodies that she discovered at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. For her book The Art of Zandra Rhodes, she wanted her garments displayed flat, like mounted butterflies, rather than worn by models. That way, their extraordinary patterns were revealed.
Zandra, Queen of the Desert
Be inspired by the art of seventies icon Zandra Rhodes. The pink lady’s fantasy fashion delivered a fix of culture clash glamour that lives on and on: graphic textiles, bold prints and swathes of diaphanous chiffon.
This silk devore dress was from the same shoot – worn with a Philip Treacy Couture hat and leather, feather, sand shells and beaded necklaces by Erickson Bearmon.
How to do….Zandra Rhodes
The same issue of Harpers and Queen has a very handy guide on how to dress in the Zandra Rhodes style or as Harpers and Queen describe it:
The original – and still the best for jet-set chiffon and inspirational prints.
This silk chiffon dress is by Salvatore Ferragamo and it’s worn with lace leggings by Zandra Rhodes – you don’t have to dress head to toe to get the Zandra Rhodes look.
Attention! Diversion! Zigzag Rhodes!
Over to Vogue now…..
These pictures were taken from the article about Zandra Rhodes’ home:
Powerful patterns and coloured cover Zandra Rhodes house and her person, all is idiosyncratic, instantly recognisable decoration…The house, salmon pink outside, has mottled marbled sea-pinks and blues inside, a Martin Sharp mural up the stairwell meeting painted columns, urns, banked plastic flowers on the landing, with scarlet pleated bath alcove and Zandra in the tub.
Vogue’s own motor show
Here’s Jerry Hall in a Zandra Rhodes satin sarong – with a Rover to match!
Frilled sarong of pleated satin in whipped cream print, tendrils of rouleaux and gilded cords keeping body and soul together.
West Coast style
With more time, I’m sure I would find a lot more – I feel as if I am just scratching the surface. I really enjoyed researching this subject – so if you feel inspired come and take a look at our Costume Collection at Chelsea Reference Library.
Debby Wale, Triborough Reference Librarian
Chelsea Reference Library
‘The Art of Zandra Rhodes’ by Anne Knight is available to view in the Costume Collection – it documents her designs inspired by Africa, China and India
Vogue and Harpers and Queens – back copies of these magazines can be viewed in the Costume Collection too
Berg Fashion Library has more information about Zandra Rhodes – you’ll need a Kensington and Chelsea library card to access this amazing online fashion resource