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Study event review: Zandra Rhodes

50 Years of Fabulous

A group of textile students met textiles tutor Priscilla Edwards on a damp morning on Saturday 7 December at the Fashion and Textile Museum (FTM) on Bermondsey Street, a short walk from London Bridge station.

After introductions we embarked on a tour of the Museum where we could go at our own pace and Priscilla was there to answer queries or questions on style, colour palate, printing techniques or costume design. 

The exhibition was laid out in chronological order from 1969 and celebrated the founding of Rhode’s fashion house.

There were so many dresses on display that it was difficult to take it all in, a life-times work. Rhode’s knowledge of pattern, and how the fabric has a relationship with the human body was remarkable. She created paper patterns that she would pin and wrap around herself, studying the effect in mirrors. The prints would influence the final garment, by using the print to influence the cutting of the fabric, which was particularly innovative at the time. The technique was part of the exhibition.

On show was also a very informative film about Rhodes, in which she talked about her life and her work. Lunch was very informal, but we spent the time talking about textiles and the OCA Textile degree pathway. 

After lunch we paid a short but impromptu visit to the White Cube Gallery (across the road from FTM) where were looked at the work of Anselm Kiefer (b 1945), a German painter and sculptor.  His paintings were mixed media using oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, wood, metal and branches on canvas. The size of his paintings on display ranged from 280 x 380 cm up to a whopping 660 x 665 cm. This lead to question like, “how do you transport and rehang artworks which are so large?”

After the visit to the White Cube we returned to the FTM and looked at the small Norman Hartnell (1901 – 1979) exhibition also on display. We returned to sketch some of the Zandra Rhodes patterns and designs, and then we recapped the study day over a coffee before departing. We would like to give a huge thanks to OCA for organising such a valuable study event and particularly to Priscilla for giving up her weekend to be with current students.

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Posted by author: Beverley Williams
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2 thoughts on “Study event review: Zandra Rhodes

    • Thankyou Beverley for such a great review of our study day at FTM, I know from our discussions on the day the group found the exhibitions hugely valuable – it was a great insight into the world of an inspirational UK designer. Everyone also really benefited from the time spent chatting on the experiences of being an OCA student and having the opportunity to talk informally about assignments and course work. I’d like to thank everyone for attending the day and look forward to our next get together.

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