4. New York and 'Indian Feathers' collection
On a trip to New York in 1970, Zandra Rhodes was taken by friends to visit the Museum of the American Indian (now the National Museum of the American Indian) where she was "knocked out with the intricacy of the beautiful feathers and the way they had used dyed porcupine quills as beads." This porcupine quillwork made her think of the intricate detailing of Tudor samplers with stumpwork embroidery, and she felt that the intricacy was just as amazing.
At the museum she sketched drawings of the feather headdresses and the embroidery. When she returned to her studio in London, she developed these feathers into a print design in which they looked as though they were sewn on with cross-stitches. Zandra Rhodes was also picking up on the themes from her first collection, which was inspired by knitting and stitching, as well as from her second collection, in which real feathers were sewn on to the hems of the garments.
Above: Details from New York and 'Indian Feathers' collection, 1970 © Zandra Rhodes
Zandra Rhodes created silk chiffon 'feathers' by cutting around the individual printed feathers and hand rolling the edges. She was also inspired to use colour combinations originally used by Native Americans, for example, printing her feathers with a combination of terracotta, indigo, black, and turquoise.