The Button Flower print

6. The Button Flower print

An ordinary everyday object provided the inspiration for Zandra Rhodes's distinctive 'Button Flower' print in 1971. The designer made a trip to button manufacturers J&J Stern in London where she bought some simple flower and geometric shaped buttons, which were attached to cards with pinked shapes of fabric behind each sample.

As she explains in this video, she started to draw the flowers like buttons stitched on to the fabric. The flower's centre became a button and the flower's petals were influenced by the bold, organic shapes of French artist Henri Matisse.

Zandra Rhodes also used the 'Button Flower' print as three-dimensional detailing. The 'Button Flower' motif was cut out and placed on to a range of garments, such as the shoulder of her 1971 'Dinosaur coat'.

Detail of 'Button Flower' motif on the 'Dinosaur coat', 1971, Zandra Rhodes Detail of 'Button Flower' motif on jacket, 1971, Zandra Rhodes
Above: Detail of 'Button Flower' motif on the 'Dinosaur coat' and a jacket, 1971.

The leading fashion magazines again featured her collection, with Clive Arrowsmith and David Bailey photographing outfits modelled by models Penelope Tree and Pat Cleveland for Vogue.

In the video, Zandra Rhodes mentions that she still uses this print design to this day. It can be seen, for example, in her Button Flower perfume launched in 2010. The 'Button Flower' print was also used on the fantastically unique dinner set by ceramics artist Carol McNicoll in 1972. This was created to look like padded PVC and was commissioned by Zandra Rhodes. The dinner set is still a cherished possession in her London penthouse to this day.