Sunday, 21 July 2013

Zandra Rhodes: Unseen

Mirror mosaic by Andrew Logan
I am drawn again to the Fashion and Textile Museum in the long shadow of The Shard to see the exhibition celebrating its founder, Zandra Rhodes: Unseen.

It is, I am amazed to find out, this museum's tenth anniversary. Amazing not only for the usual "Can it really be that long - where has all the time gone?" reason, but because it took me years and years to visit it and now I can't keep away.

Yes, I do visit other galleries, but the past two exhibitions have pandered to my passions for bright colour and exuberant decoration. (See my earlier blogs on Kaffe Fassett, and
 As one of the labels says of Rhodes: "Print and pattern are within the DNA of the designer."

As so often, it is the unexpected that catches the eye. I was drawn to a much-larger-than-life mirror mosaic (I love mosaic, especially of the broken-china type, being a close relative of patchwork in mixing "found" patterns) by Rhodes's friend Andrew Logan, founder of the Alternative Miss World in the 1970s  and a  mixed media artist who proclaims himself to belong "to a unique school of English eccentrics"  By happy accident, a pedestrian diversion on the way to the gallery from London Bridge takes you past his own "Surreal emporium for all". Although I take issue with the last two words, having seen the prices of his jewellery in the Fashion and Textile Museum shop that would seem to exclude the financially embarrassed. And so I did not enter. "I love it," I said to my friend as we peered through the window. "It's so tacky and kitsch. But all in the best possible taste."

Design from Zandra's sketchbook
Another highlight was Rhodes's sketchbooks - she sketches every day, apparently - and the use of some of the landscape pages, going back to the 1980s, recently printed on to plain mini-dresses.

And, just because I'm in the mood for mauves and pinks with a splash of yellow, here's another of my quilts in progress. Nowhere near the magic of Rhodes and Logan, but it keeps me happy.

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Handmade textiles for stylish interiors, off the shelf or to commission

email:; 020 7515 0701; 07518 885960

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