Zandra RhodesCostume Institute Gala Benefit celebrating the Punk: Chaos To Couture exhibition, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, America - 06 May 2013


As darkness fell on lower Manhattan Monday night, Zandra Rhodes was hard to miss wearing a vibrant pink floral dress and hot pink heels and in search of a cab on Greenwich Street.

En route from her friend Anna Sui’s runway show, Rhodes gave the designer high marks for her spring collection. Until next month, “The World of Anna Sui” is on view at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum, which was founded by Rhodes. With a New York trip planned, Rhodes had asked Sui to meet for dinner. “Anna said, ‘Why don’t you come to my show?’ So I came a day early,” Rhodes said.

She designed a print for Sui about two years ago. Rhodes continued, “She enjoys coming ‘round to the museum and then we approached her about doing an exhibition. And it’s a fabulous show. Twiggy came to the opening. That was very lovely.”

Fifty years into her own multifaceted career, Rhodes is busy culling her own retrospective that will be unveiled at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London. (Another well-established designer Jil Sander is busy with her own retrospective at Frankfurt’s Museum Angewandte Kunst, which is said to be taking over the entire Richard Meier-designed building.)

But back to Rhodes, who is also crafting an exhibition of her fabrics as well as the ones she designed for Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli last season. That one will be shown at South Coast Plaza in Orange County California and will bow in late January or February. “So I just have a few projects,” she said with understatement.

Her next London fashion show is coming up and her alliance with Matchesfashion.com is also sailing along as the e-tailer is making more of a global push. The designer is developing a holiday collection of vintage-inspired looks.

As for how the British-born Rhodes keeps everything on track, she said, “I have a fabulous team. What happens is when I’m in California, I speak to London ten o’clock their time, which is two o’clock mine. And if it’s desperate and I’m training a new person, I speak with them at one o’clock in the morning, which is nine their time and when I start them off. So it keeps me going. I love it.”

Rhodes has not been fielding calls from potential buyers. “I sometimes think when I look around at how the exciting things are happening. I suppose it might happen or we might get people who want to be in part of it. I’ll just see what happens,” she said.

Brexit was not a subject she wanted to linger on. “Oh, don’t. It’s the worst thing I can think of. I can’t bring myself to talk to my sister who I know voted for it. I went back to London and voted not to break up. I hope that she [British Prime Minister Theresa May] will just say, ‘We made a mistake. Why don’t we just stay with you.’ That is what I hope will happen. Whether it does or not is another matter.”

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