[Kuala Lumpur] British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes

Zandra Rhodes

The exhibition, “Zandra Rhodes – A Life Long Love Affair With Textiles” will be held at the National Textiles Museum, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, until January 12th 2014.

As a member of the “New Wave” of British designers, Zandra Rhodes revolutionized the world of fashion, putting London at the forefront of the international fashion scene in the 1970s. Born in Kent, England in 1940, Zandra was introduced to fashion by her mother, who was a fitter for the Paris House of Worth and a fashion lecturer at Medway College of Art. After studying textile design at Medway and later at the Royal College of Art, Zandra initially launched her career as a textile designer. Zandra soon developed her own form of fashion design, teaching herself how to create clothing on her own terms.

Her background in textile design became the focus of her dressmaking as she allowed the textile designs themselves to influence the shapes of the garments. Influences on her work have ranged from the paintings of Kandinsky, Modigliani and Matisse to Elizabethan costumes in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Mexican sombreros and the safety pins and tears of the 1970s London punk scene.

In recognition of her contribution to the textile and fashion industries, Zandra was elected Royal Designer for Industry by the British Royal Society of Art in 1994 and appointed a Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth in 1997.

She has designed costumes for San Diego Opera’s production of Wolfgang Mozart’s The Magic Flute (2001), sets and costumes for George Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers (2004 and 2008) and was commissioned by the English National Opera and Houston Grand Opera to design sets and costumes for Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida (2007).

In 1999 Zandra founded the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, which focuses on contemporary British and international fashion, textiles and jewelry. Zandra continues her design work in her San Diego and London studios, producing two collections yearly, and lectures on her experiences in the fashion industry. Objects from Mingei International Museum’s permanent collection complement Zandra’s dynamic inspirations. Geometric designs on African kuba cloths, dynamic colors of Indian saris and the elaborate patterns of Indonesian batik highlight the wide spectrum of inspiration for her textile and garment designs.

View all Asia-Europe Museum Network members in Malaysia and the United Kingdom.

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