Zandra Rhodes is of the opinion that IRL matters. This summer the designer — whose incandescent pink hair shone through the screen in a recent Zoom chat with WWD — is reprising her role as a guest host of the Museum of Arts and Designs’ annual MAD About Jewelry event to bring attention to artist-made jewelry.
“I think it’s a replenishment of one’s soul. You get to see the real work, not just like you are talking to me on a computer screen,” Rhodes said of museums.
But throughout this time, Rhodes has embraced technology. She has been digitally cataloguing some 5,000 pieces of her archive and adjusting to the Zoom world. In that vein, she will join the Museum of Art and Design on virtual appointments to support jewelry craftspeople like Andrew Logan, whom she will lead in conversation on July 1 as he sells his intricate and sculptural designs.
“I never give up wearing jewelry or makeup,” Rhodes said of her reliance on jewelry throughout the pandemic. “I always dress up — I think it’s one’s face to the world. The minute you stop caring about your face to the world, it’s rather distressing,” she said.
The 80-year-old has lived through many major world events and was among the designers to change the face of fashion in the U.K. during the early ’70s. But still, Rhodes said: “I can’t imagine there’s ever been a period of time [like this]. I could only compare it to something like the Black Death in the Middle Ages when people had to hide away and not move around.”
Rhodes thinks this is a time for global reassessment. “I think, worldwide, people have got to change in some sort of manner. We can’t keep using the world’s resources. Maybe people are more caring with what they buy and treasure. It can’t be that we always have new, new, new. We can have additions and maybe make something we’ve already got feel newer,” she said.
Coming out of the pandemic, Rhodes expects, “an amazing outburst of talent because everyone’s going to be set free.”
MAD About Jewelry runs throughout the summer with Zoom discussions including Elie Top and Amy Fine Collins, En Jewelry Studio in conversation with Lynn Yaeger, and Marie-Hélène de Taillac and Tiffany Dubin. Registration is available through the Museum of Arts and Design’s site.