by Stéphane Gaboué
The new generation may not be familiar with the work of the legendary British designer Zandra Rhodes. At best, they might remember her from her cameo appearance in Absolutely Fabulous ("Hi Zandra! It's me, Patsy. Patsy Stone").
And yet any number of pieces from her retrospective collection, which attracted industry stalwarts, could easily slip into the wardrobe of any young, fashion-loving girl of today. It was a fantastic show, unveiling one stunner after another, showing the designer's brilliant color sense, expert cutting skills,
knack for prints, and unbridled embrace of 1970s exoticism and hedonism.
From the 1970 pink printed chiffon ensemble (with the edges hand-rolled) to the lamé Elizabethan dress inspired by Lady Diana's wedding gown, through a 1985 flapper number beaded to resemble Manhattan high-rises, it was a stellar career collection unfurling before us. A few new pieces were included, too. At times, with their donut-shaped headbands and glittery, glued-on make-up (perfectly in tune with Steven Meisel's new Italian Vogue cover), the models looked like they had escaped from a Guy Bourdin shoot.
As Zandra herself came out to take a bow, her hot-pink hair cut into a bob, the audience was on its feet, giving her a well-deserved standing ovation.