Dame Zandra Rhodes held a lecture and book signing on Oct. 14, at Warwick’s Bookstore in La Jolla. Dennis Nothdruft is the head of exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, and he was on-hand to ask Rhodes questions about her 50-year career in fashion. They were greeted with a packed audience. Rhodes spoke about her career in the early days when punk came along and she designed garments with holes and chains. In the beginning of her career, she said she would start off with spectacular fashion shows creating performance art — some of the runways had ballet dancers, Egyptian dancers walking sideways, and models tossing rose petals. At that time, they always did a celebration poster for each season.
Rhodes discussed some of the people she worked with during her five-decade career, which began with her big break meeting Diana Vreeland when she came to the U.S. Additional personalities she talked about meeting were Diana Ross, Princess Diana, and Freddie Mercury from Queen. The audience had an opportunity to ask questions and one was, “Do you wear anyone else’s clothes?” Rhodes said not if she is trying to sell her dresses. Another audience member asked, “How do you always look so delicious?” Rhodes said that she uses herself as a pallet and begins with her makeup and then adds the jewelry until the look is visually pleasing to her. After the lecture and Q&A, the audience formed a huge line for the book signing.
Both Rhodes and Nothdruft are editors of this new publication, “50 Fabulous Years in Fashion.” The book has a foreword by British journalist and fashion critic Suzy Menkes. The fashion icon and interior designer Iris Apfel wrote the preface to the book. You may remember that Apfel was the subject of an exhibit at The Costume Institute in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2006. Contributions in the book looked like a who’s who in fashion and included industry icon Mary Lou Luther, American fashion designer Anna Sui, film producer Joan Agajanian Quinn, and Indian designer Rajeev Sethi. London-based journalist, author, and opera specialist Helena Matheopoulos, textile historian and author Mary Schoeser, and creative director of Valentino, Pierpaolo Piccioli, also made additional contributions.
Rhodes is currently making guest appearances and book signings throughout California, New York, and London. In conjunction with the book, Rhodes has an exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London called “Zandra Rhodes: 50 Years of Fabulous.” The exhibition highlights five decades of this British design legend and will run through Jan. 26, 2020.
Warwick’s is the oldest continuous family-owned business and operated independent bookstore in the U.S. It’s now in its fourth generation. Some of the biggest authors and celebrities, such as Ozzy Osbourne to Hilary Clinton and Dame Zandra Rhodes, have come here for people to meet and greet. For a list of upcoming events and author signings, check out warwicks.com.
Thursday, Nov. 7 — Zandra Rhodes Fashion Show at 11:30 a.m. at the Westgate Hotel, 1055 Second Ave. There will be a Champagne reception, a three-course luncheon and a fashion show of the Golden Hourcollection to celebrate her 50 years in the fashion industry. For more information, visit westgatehotel.com.
Wednesday, Dec. 11 — ‘50 Fabulous Years’ luncheon celebrates Zandra’s 50 years in fashion at the L’Auberge Del Mar. There will be an auction for some of Zandra’s historic pieces. For details, email Dakota@zandrarhodes.com.
Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned couture milliner based in the historic Gaslamp Quarter. Learn more about our hat designer, teacher and blogger at DianaCavagnaro.com.