Isabelle speaks to Zandra Rhodes about her new collection for M&S
Zandra Rhodes has designed a capsule collection for Marks and Spencer which hits the stores on the 7th May. Consisting of swimsuits, underwear, totes bags as well as dresses, jumpsuits and floaty tunic tops. We met up with Rhodes this morning to let her talk us through the collection, and shed a little light on her very individual look.
Isabelle: So how did this collaboration come about?
Zandra Rhodes: We talked several times in the past and it hadn't been right, and we approached them and they said they'd like to do something and the team came round to my studio which is above FTM and went through all my collections, we tried to choose things that were iconic that the public would link with that would feel... The whole thing with a collection like this is it has to look completely like me and the thing that's so fantastic is I tried on a lot of the pieces so, I'm going to be wearing them obviously!
M&S looked at the different prints and then we worked together and each time they checked that things looked completely like me but what they did They'd seen my master print and then they'd interpret it either up or down that really work. Their workrooms did that, just asked for my approval and it was fabulous.
I don't know if you've been to their offices, they're quite fabulous. They're all open plan.
So everyone at M&S has already got a sneak preview walking past the offices?
You'd see the samples and other people could see them and you could tell from the reaction of people stopping from the different departments that other people felt excited about it which was nice.
You've got such a distinctive style, a sensibility for colour, where does that come from?
I think I've got a very strong style and it's luck of the draw whether people will feel for that style at different periods so it goes up and down. Yesterday I had some people who'd won a competition to have tea with me. In San Diego of all places! You know they bid to have tea with me, and they said "How have you kept going for so long?" and I said I don't really know, except I believe in my work, I LOVE doing pattern, I LOVE doing drawing so, you know, it's everything I stand for. I've always found prints are so easy to wear they don't show marks very much, they make you feel wonderful. It's great to see my things out and I can't wait, I can see people wearing them with big hats for weddings, maybe on the beach so I'm thrilled.
Is it strange to have then a definite personal style?
There's two kinds of designers, you've got your own style which people link to, which is kind of like a two-edged sword. It's either going to be something where people want it, and at the moment it's a fantastic time for lively prints and colour.
Like the trouser outfit now for example, I never show my arms. So i would probably wear it with say, something like long gloves so I feel alright, and lots of jewellery so you cover up the bits you don't want to show. Show off your shoulders but you don't have to show off your arms!
That's a good tip! I like it!
I think I'm feminine but I don't think I'm ever so girly, I think it just depends how you wear it. Like I said with this here [the trousersuit] I'm going to wear it with gloves here but I'll wear lots of jewellery but I will also wear the scar around the hips with a belt. I'll probably, I dunno, it'd be quite nice to try it with summer boots, you know, tucked in. So it kind of looks slightly cossack, you know what I mean? You must feel, it's lovely fabric! Hello! You must come over so she can feel the lovely fabric! [motions to PR]
At this point I feel the PR's floaty trousers, and Rhodes is right, they are ever so lovely!
Stick around for part two of our interview with Zandra Rhodes coming up this afternoon.