. . . with the aid of Yuki, Sheilagh Brown, Wendy Dagworthy, Sheridan Barnett, Bill Gibb, Jane Cattlin, Zandra Rhodes and Peter Golding, eight top designers who were each persuaded to whip up a creation for when you still haven’t got a thing to wear.
If you haven’t a rag to your name, there is now Zandra Rhodes’ jersey, ripped, slashed and blue’stitched into her personal view of punk. She calls it “conceptual chic”. In style she thinks it is the first time the seventies have shown themselves. It is no holds barred style.
Mean streak of black jersey, this page, and another, opposite T-shirt shape under ragged tunic. All with blue cotton stitching, chains, ball bearings, safety pins, random diamante. All from Zandra Rhodes ; The Zandra Rhodes Shop at Harrods. Jersey by Racine. Very high heel gold sandals, Manolo Blahnik for Zapata. Hair by Fabian at Jean Louis David.
Maxine and Gary Smith moved to London from New York in 1971. Since then, Gary Smith, American television producer and winner of several Emmy Awards, has been working with Sir Lew Grade on television spectaculars, and Maxine Smith has been planning their London flat with Zandra Rhodes. The combination of their ideas has worked perfectly, with one taking over where the other left off. Initially, Zandra Rhodes designed a series of fabrics. Maxine Smith then had them printed to her own colour pattern by Alex McIntyre, often using the same colourway and design on different fabrics so that texture changes have been subtly worked from cotton to felt to satin. Some sur-faces are flat, others gathered – as in the hall where felt blends with draped cotton. Throughout there is an instantaneous impact of colour, wit and comfort. As one becomes accustomed to the colours, one realises that the sitting-room is designed for midnight rather than midday, the windows permanently shuttered and the curtains drawn. One notices the enormous portrait of Lenny Bruce by Gary Smith, ‘twenties’ armchairs with covered feet found by Maxine Smith in Antique City, the Vogue needlepoint cushions all worked by her mother. In the bedroom, apricot satin and taffetas with a felt print ceiling and apricot-coloured cupboards, the bed set on a mirrored podium, and covered with cushions. Other points of colour are the red telephone, the amber carpet. Next, a completely cupboarded dressing-room. Then, the apricot bathroom. Downstairs, past a neon sign—”I love Max”—and other such illuminations, to the dining-room: originally a cellar, now a brilliant blue small tent. The kitchen has dark rust-coloured prints, the ceiling hung with a thousand cooking utensils and an enormous electric lamp bulb found at Selfridges. Just off the kitchen a bar, a platform bat on steps, with three-tier cushions as bar stools, and an embroidery of Whistler’s mother by Malcolm Poynter, which came from the DM Gallery, Fulham Road. London’s galleries and off-beat furniture shops have produced many other pieces of art and amusement, some of them transformed by Zandra Rhodes’ coverings, others untouched, all with a special blend of humour and art.
Japanese men are peculiarly affected by a glimpse of the naked nape of a Japanese neck. In Western cultures such excitement is generated by a panorama of bosom (as in this black chiffon dress by Thea Porter), or a smooth swathe of thigh. Here we show some revelations from the London autumn collections… hot numbers for the coolest of winter evenings.
All perfect for lockdowns, I’m sure you’ll agree! It’s also nice to be surprised by Ossie Clark every once in a while – with a corset being so vastly different in tone from what we would usually expect.
Photographed by Sam Haskins.
Fashion Editor: Cherry Twiss.
Hair by Paulene at Michaeljohn.
Scanned from The Telegraph Magazine, 8th November 1974.
I was mainly scanning this spread because I’ve just listed a Zandra Rhodes dress which I think must be from the same collection over on Etsy, but thought I might as well put them here too – especially because of that iconic Bill Gibb photo (used for the cover of Iain R. Webb’s definitive book about Gibb, seemingly fetching a pretty penny on Amazon these days). These top-stitched jerseys were a signature look for her in this period and mine also has the Piero de Monzi label. Marc Bolan had a top version in various colours and levels of frilly extravagance.
(If you’re interested in the Zandra Rhodes dress, click here to view it on Etsy.)
Chester Jones is design director of Colefax & Fowler. He makes furniture of extraordinary craftsmanship, all dependent on handmade techniques, reminiscent of thirties’ decorative skill. Here, with his wife, Sandy, his chest-professionally sprayed silver, bolted together, stencilled in patterns of pinks and blues. Neon cloud scuplture. Gentle pattern carpet made by V’soske. Walls stippled beige on white by hand, stencilled simply, oil paint through heavy paper. Ceiling in silver gilt rubbed by hand. Sandy’s dress is by Zandra Rhodes.
Quite apart from Elliott Gould being a very worthy successor to Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe, and the faded-but-magnificent Art Deco buildings which feature throughout, Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye (1973) is also well worth watching for Nina van Pallandt’s wardrobe.
First appearing in what looks like Laura Ashley:
Then a less identifiable dress of a similar ‘peasant’ style but rather less traditionally English in the use of pattern and colour (possibly by Mexicana, Georgia Charuhas or a similar brand):
You can see more clearly in this publicity shot that the bands of lace are transparent:
Then Laura Ashley again:
Slightly clearer albeit black and white in this publicity shot:
By this point, I started wondering if this wardrobe was perhaps that of the actress rather than of the character. Nina van Pallandt was a successful Danish singer (with husband Frederik van Pallandt, they were known as ‘Nina and Frederik’) and would have spent a great deal of time in London. It otherwise seemed a bit odd that she was wearing clearly British-made clothes, albeit in a style which wouldn’t seem too dramatically out of place in early 1970s California. It certainly sets her apart from the few other women in the film, including Marlowe’s doped up neighbours (who are rarely clothed at all), and gives her a dreamy, other-worldly quality.
Then, as if by magic, she then appears in the most spectacular Zandra Rhodes gown. A gown which will, I’m afraid to say, eventually end up soaked through with sea water and very likely ruined.
Again, a proper publicity shot provides a clearer view of the classic Zandra squiggle print:
Afterwards, still pondering this, I hunted around for film stills and eventually came across this photo of Nina wearing the exact same dress in an earlier television performance. Bingo! I don’t know if it was just a small budget or a fussy leading lady, but I can only presume the entire wardrobe of her character was her own. One of those little things which seems to satisfy a curiosity in me, and I feel the need to share with the world.
I think this might be a piece from Zandra’s earliest collection as the hood and sleeve style is very reminiscent of this piece worn by Natalie Wood in 1970. I hope it was able to be rescued from its salty fate and is still out there somewhere.