Inspiration from museums

5. Inspiration from museums

"I love museums, I’m a museum groupie" - Zandra Rhodes

Zandra Rhodes recommends visiting a museum if you are looking for inspiration and noticing anything that catches your eye.

In the video she discusses her Elizabethan Slashed Silk Collection of 1971, which was inspired by two different museum collections. The shapes were inspired by the sixteenth century Native American costumes from her visit to the Museum of the American Indian in New York, and her use of slashed fabric was influenced by the Elizabethan slashed silks from the same time period, which she had seen at the Victorian and Albert Museum in London. The resulting collection was modelled and styled by Grace Coddington for British Vogue.

Detail from Elizabethan Slashed Silk Collection, 1971, Zandra Rhodes       Detail from Elizabethan Slashed Silk Collection, 1971, Zandra Rhodes
Above: Details from Elizabethan Slashed Silk Collection, 1971 © Zandra Rhodes

During the Elizabethan period in England, raw cut garments such as a slashed doublet and breeches were worn by the wealthy and fashionable. However, Zandra Rhodes notes that in the early 1970s raw cut fabric wasn't commercially saleable.

Other examples of Zandra Rhodes's work that have been inspired by museum collections include: the 'Knitted Circle' print from 1969, which was inspired by knitting and woollen chain stitch embroidery seen at the Victoria and Albert Museum; the 'Chevron Shawl' print from 1970, which was inspired by Victorian fringed shawls; and the New York and 'Indian Feathers' collection of 1970, which was influenced by the intricate costumes in the Museum of the American Indian.