Brilliant hues with Zandra Rhodes

ZandraRhodes cr CoatsEarly this year I interviewed the inimitable Zandra Rhodes for Simply Sewing magazine, and it was an absolute pleasure. The piece has been published in issue 3 of the mag.

I began the feature with the paragraphs:

It’s 1973, 6am in the Red Centre of Australia. In the desert chill a young woman sits sketching Uluru, the sandstone monolith then better known as Ayers Rock. Her hair is bright green, but within a few years it will be shocking pink, and will remain that colour well into her seventies.

“I sat there very early in the morning in the freezing cold light and waited for the sunrise,” says designer Zandra Rhodes, now aged 75. “Then I drew the way the shadows laced over that rock.”

Zandra Rhodes Ayers Rock sketches from 1973

Zandra Rhodes’ Ayers Rock sketches from 1973

Decades later those early sketches have become a series of fabric designs for Coats, which was the reason the interview took place, but it was fabulous to delve into a mind with so much creative energy, to gain an insight into her celeb clientele, but, even more fun, chat about her trademark meandering wiggles.

Zandra Rhodes Lace Mountain

Zandra Rhodes’ Lace Mountain fabrics cr Coats

“All my things have wiggly lines!” she exclaims, seeming amused by this. “When I fill in a background it’s far more likely to have wiggly lines than be plain.” She hesitates then adds: “Wiggles are friendly. Prints have the power to make you happy. They supply extra depth to what you’re thinking about. You put the thing on and the print supplies a jolly face for the day.”

There’s an awful lot more to this interview – and lots more images too. Find the full piece in Simply Sewing issue 3, available from