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Zandra Rhodes Fair Isle dressZandra Rhodes 1960s



#7468 $850   Sold

Zandra Rhodes "Diamond and Roses/Knitted Circle" silk chiffon evening dress, 1968-69

One of our most creative designers, Zandra Rhodes (b. 1942), is first and foremost a textile artist. Her print designs, like a stylized form of handwriting, set her apart from other designers—not surprising, considering her background.

She studied lithography, intending to become a textile designer, but instead gravitated to fashion design, where she has made a brilliant career. Her ingenious, innovative techniques broke new ground for print design.

This exemplar from Rhodes' first collection is an important find for the serious collector. The butterfly dress combines two prints from this early collection: the Knitted Circle pattern on the bodice, inspired by the circular knitting patterns seen in Fair Isle sweaters; and the Diamonds and Roses pattern on the skirt.

This same combination of prints is seen in the famous 1970 Vogue picture of Natalie Woods modeling a similar Zandra Rhodes coat.

In our dress, an ethereal chiffon creation floats over the body like a delicate butterfly. I love the full circle sleeves and glowing saffron color. The elasticized waist is comfortable and easy to wear. The dress comes with the original gold rayon petticoat.

Rhodes' exotic originality makes her work among the most copied in the fashion world today. What her rivals know but can rarely obey is Fashion Commandment #4: if the design is outré, it must also be extravagantly beautiful! If Zandra has to break the "rules of fashion" to reach her goal, she goes for it.

One of the Shetland Islands, Fair Isle is a tiny island in the north of Scotland. Fair Isle knitting became popular when the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, wore Fair Isle tank tops in public in 1921.

The condition is almost excellent. The skirt is lightly soiled along the hemline. I saw only a few tiny mends, which can be found only if you are looking for them.

The dress fits a range of sizes.
The elasticized waist measures 31" unstretched. The length is 58" from shoulder to hem.
The petticoat waistband measures 30".

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