For five decades, Dame Zandra Rhodes has been creating wonderful patterns and the designer is a key influencer of modern British pop culture. For FLOOR_STORY, Zandra Rhodes has created three exquisite rugs, reproducing work dating back to her fledging career in the 1960s. We were privileged to catch up with her and find out about her designs in our Designer Sessions series.
Dame Zandra Rhodes' dresses and textiles have adorned some of the world’s most famous people, from Princess Diana and Freddie Mercury to Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Bianca Jagger, Kylie Minogue, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. Her vintage pieces are avidly collected by fashion heavyweights Tom Ford and Anna Sui, Zandra Rhodes really is an icon of British popular culture. We’re absolutely thrilled that Zandra has recreated three of her iconic patterns in a series of rugs for FLOOR_STORY.
How would you describe your style and what has influenced your design?
Individual, colourful and flowing, I’m influenced by the things I see and that I draw in sketchbook, both banal and epic. This can be anything from flowers or Mexican ruins to doodles that develop into flowing wiggly lines. Travel is an essential to this process and what better than a magic carpet to get to new and inspiring places!
Can you tell us a little more about your designs for FLOOR_STORY and exactly what inspired them?
With five decades of design to choose from, it’s not always easy to know where to start. Prints can have lives of their own too, they can be timeless or can follow the wider trends of what people are into, which I always find fascinating.
The choices we made for this capsule were based not only on what are most recognisably a ‘Zandra Rhodes print’ in signature colours, but also by working with FLOOR_STORY to think about what’s right for the market now. We started with three icons; Wiggle, which seems as if it’s been with me forever; Mexican Dinner Plate (Mexican Star) from 1978 and because of the film’s 40th anniversary this year, Star Wars.
I can remember Wiggle since school and this one in two-tone pink is very me, it is my signature print. What better way to celebrate 40 years of Star Wars than with a print inspired by the film’s release in 1977, and putting it in the hands of such talented craftsmen and women to recreate it in incredible quality. Mexican Star I love because sometimes you just want to accessorise with a print and not wear it from head-to-toe, these little accent rugs are great to dot around your home. I made them so everyone, regardless of space, can have a little Zandra Rhodes in their home.
What attracted you to working with FLOOR_STORY and more importantly, the process of rug making?
I’ve always filled my own interiors with my prints, I’ve had entire rooms of pleated printed chiffon and tule, I’ve even had an entire wall of pleated gold lamé; it was fabulous. When I first moved into my big open space in Bermondsey it was a different mood and I used hard flooring everywhere as carpets and rugs just didn’t feel modern. It feels like this has totally changed now though and rugs are having a huge revolution.
People use rugs to bring a different element of thought into their home, like a piece of art for your floor, which I love because you see it everywhere. Above all, FLOOR_STORY sees the art in both production and design, and this was a pre-requisite for me.
How do the rugs make you feel?
I love the thought of adding an element of surprise to people’s homes. My own floor is like a rainbow and it makes the whole place seem so cheerful, I can only hope that my rugs will have the same effect. I put so much of my life and love into my prints and I hope they are symbols that express that, just like little beacons of joy and fun.