By  on January 3, 2002


Zandra Rhodes has the building, a bright pink and orange block that has raised eyebrows in the up-and-coming South Bank district in London. Now she needs the money to fill it.

Rhodes is singlehandedly creating the first museum in London dedicated to fashion and textiles, an institute intended to celebrate British and international style and serve as an educational resource.

With funds from the sale of her own London home and private backing, Rhodes bought a warehouse and hired Mexican architect Ricardo Legoretta to give it a colorful makeover. "It's bright orange and pink, and everyone says it looks so Zandra Rhodes. But if you were Mexican, you'd say it looks so Ricardo Legoretta," Rhodes said. "So I get a lot of backhanded credit."

But she still needs about $4 million to finish the interior of the Fashion and Textile Museum and to hire staff. So, less than a month after a tea dance at Larry Hagman's home in Ojai, Calif., that raised $50,000 for the cause, Rhodes was on a plane to meet with clients and friends in Dallas.

On Oct. 24, the designer threw a pumpkin-themed cocktail party in a suite at the Hotel Crescent Court, which is partly owned by Rhodes's friend Caroline Rose Hunt. About 75 people crammed into the suite to greet the designer, where they were serenaded by a harpist and watched models stroll among them in Rhodes's fantastically colorful designs.

Some guests were members of the American Friends of the Fashion and Textile Institute, a nonprofit group working to support the museum.

"I'm helping her as a friend to fund-raise," said Carolyn Farb, who flew in from Houston for the party. "I think it is a great idea to have the American Friends of the Zandra Rhodes Museum. It's realizing her dream."

Farb eyed the two oversized red and orange lilies that topped Rhodes's signature hot pink tresses.

"I'm crazy for those flowers," Farb said. "I came all the way from Houston to get them and, she doesn't have anymore."

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