Using previous work to inspire new designs

9. Using previous work to inspire new designs

"My ideas are never static. I don't just design a print or a dress, produce it, and then drop it. The theme keeps worrying me to be developed and the original idea becomes linked to something new and is regenerated." - Zandra Rhodes

In this video clip, Zandra Rhodes describes how she often makes use of her previous fashion designs and prints from her archives and reinterprets them into new pieces. She also mentions that customers sometimes come to her and ask for a particular style that she has done in the past.

One example of a contemporary reinterpretation of a previous Zandra Rhodes design can be seen in her Autumn/Winter 2012 collection. The distinctive quilted jacket from 2012, which is shown in the video, shares the same shape as an earlier quilted satin jacket from 1973, but in different prints.

The walls of her studio can be seen at the beginning of this video covered with exciting new print designs and ideas that are in development for 2013. This includes a version of her iconic 'Sparkle' print, which can be seen on the far right. This print was first developed over 40 years ago and has been reintroduced and reinterpreted on her garments in later collections.

Sparkle print, 1971, Zandra Rhodes        Sparkle print, 1980, Zandra Rhodes
Above: 'Sparkle' print used in 1971 (left) and 1980 (right) © Zandra Rhodes

Certain dresses in particular have become known as Zandra Rhodes classics that are revisited every season and reworked, such as her best-selling dress known simply by its style number '73/44'. This feminine silk chiffon dress first came out in 1973 with a 'Field of Lilies' print, and has a deep v-neckline, long wide sleeves, and a full length skirt. It is finished with a satin sash in a contrasting or complementary colour, which is another Zandra Rhodes trademark.

73/44 dress, 1973, Zandra Rhodes        73/44 dress, 1973, Zandra Rhodes        One-shoulder dress, 1974, Zandra Rhodes
Above: 73/44 dress in two different colourways, 1973, and one-shoulder dress, 1974 © Zandra Rhodes

The '73/44' dress has been worn by well-known figures and women around the world. The dress was also highlighted as an iconic representation of the designer's work in the 2005 exhibition and accompanying exhibition catalogue, Zandra Rhodes: A Lifelong Love Affair with Textiles.

Another example of a Zandra Rhodes classic is her one-shoulder dress first created in 1974, which has been re-worked in subsequent collections up to the present day.