The exhibition features designs worn by Freddie Mercury, Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Harry and Kate Moss. More recently Pierpaul Picolino of Valentino turned to Zandra for inspiration for his 2016 collection – knowing that she would be able to interpret his vision of dreamlike Bosch drawings within the framework of hot pinks and fuchsias that became her signature. He even rediscovered her very first textile print, a 1950s ‘lipstick print’ – which was also recently revived on a Matches jumpsuit – and is included in the exhibition, as one of the very first prints that Zandra designed in 1965.
“Zandra happens to work in fashion and textiles but is actually a pop artist – she could easily have been a painter or a sculptor,” explains exhibition curator Denis Nothdruft. The Royal College of Art was the centre of art and design during the Sixties – producing people like David Hockney, Derek Boshier and Zandra Rhodes – and it was a very interdisciplinary place, where everyone hung out together. When Zandra graduated in 1965, she was already producing patterns and selling textiles to other designers – and this gave her the impetus to set up her own company.