Zandra Rhodes

Textile, Print, and Form: A Lifetime of Magical Experimentation

Zandra Rhodes February 2 – June 10, 2018


CAM Raleigh installation view.

Media Lab

Textile, Print, and Form: A Lifetime of Magical Experimentation

Zandra Rhodes

February 2 – June 10, 2018

Photo by Gene Nocon. Image courtesy of the artist.


“I am tired of good taste. I want to do everything wrong and get a result that is of value and valid as well”  – Zandra Rhodes


Zandra Rhodes: Textile, Print, and Form: A Lifetime of Magical Experimentations is the second in an ongoing series of exhibitions at CAM Raleigh that focus on fashion as art form. The exhibition explores four specific experimental techniques that this icon of British design has been reinventing over the course of nearly fifty years.


Led By The Print

Cactus Cowboy Print Dress        



Cactus Cowboy Print Dress, 1977. Black and white Cactus Cowboy chiffon dress.

Bodice lined along the dictates of the print. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Everything about the work of Zandra Rhodes begins with the inspiration, research, and development of a printed textile. The formation of an entire garment will be led by the print, from concept sketches to more detailed drawings and layouts for the screen-printing process. This tireless and driven interest in prints has defined the silhouettes of garments as well as entire collections. The flow, direction, and layering of one or more prints create enticing visual stories that are a hallmark of Zandra’s work.

Dimensional Print

Beaded Magic Carpet Tunic


Beaded Magic Carpet Tunic, 1984. Beaded Trousers, 1987. Hand beaded black dress with dramatic low back. Hand beaded with silver sequins and bugle beads and edged with pearls from the Playing Card Collection together with beaded trousers. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Multiple designs of layered, printed textiles and the addition of embroidery, beading, sequins, feathers, and appliqués have played a significant role in Zandra’s work. Simple prints evolve into defined and complex textural forms through varying levels of intentionally layered adornment. Stacks of printed and appliquéd flowers become a wearable garden. Layers of beads, crystals, and sequins form encrusted patterns that transform a delicate print into beautiful armor. Conscious visual surface activation has defined Zandra’s approach to design, entrusting every mark and element with a powerful purpose.

Cutting and Slashing

Cut Silk Dress


Cut Silk Dress, 1971. Black silk zig zag dress printed with white – slashed with a knife. Slashes made to dictates of the print and smocking in center. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The cutting and slashing of fabric is inspired by an Elizabethan fashion trend of the 16th century. Zandra’s use of historic design elements emerged at a time when contemporary fashion was not interested in raw cut and slashed garments with exposed seams. The techniques were Elizabethan and the silhouettes were inspired by garments worn by native North Americans. Zandra’s design process continues to be defined by combining histories, cultures, and contemporary materials in alternative ways.

Holes and Chains

Black Punk Dress


Black Punk Dress, 1977. Black punk two-piece style with underdress. Long punk dress with trim and sash tied as bodice detail. Embroidered holes with chains. Photo courtesy of the artist.


Punk squares, 1977. Chiffon. Photo courtesy of the artist


Zandra Rhodes, 1977. Image courtesy of the artist.

Photograph by John Swannell. Makeup by Richard Sharah.

Inspired by 1970’s street culture and punk rock, Zandra’s ongoing interest in textile and surface manipulation continues in her current work. Holes are beautifully cut, draped and beaded. Jeweled safety pins and chains become intentional closures and methods of attachment. Materials and visual composition are never left to chance.


Zandra Rhodes, 2017. Painting by Dave Downton.

Watercolor on paper. Photo courtesy of the artist.


Zandra Rhodes with CAM models, February 3, 2018. Photo by Hannah Brady.

Artist Website:


Artist Appearance Dates:

March 1, 2018: CAM Spring Exhibitions Event (paid event)

Members: $25

Public: $35

Click here to purchase tickets.

March 2, 2018: First Friday (free)



Creation Station available during regular CAM hours (free)

Student Exhibition:

CAM to Go

Student Exhibition inspired by Zandra Rhodes Textile, Print, and Form: A Lifetime of Magical Experimentation

April 6, 2018: First Friday (free)


AV Metro · Andrew Soren Morgan · Celito · Citrix · C.T Weekends · Devil’s Haircut / Nikki Knott · Fleur · International Farming Corporation · John Swanell · Kane Realty Corporation / The Dillon · Kathy Sedaris · Local Government Federal Credit Union · Mary Beth Paulson / House of Landor · Precious Lovell · RAD Graphics · SiteLink · Stacey Kirby · The Store · SureVest Insurance Group · Tactile Workshop · Themeworks · The Umstead Hotel and Spa · Vermillion · The Betty Eichenberger Adams Society

This exhibition is made possible in part by C.T. Weekends. The exhibition is supported in part through on-going partnerships with community retailers that believe in the transformative power of design including C.T. Weekends, Fleur, The Art of Style, Vermillion, and Raleigh Denim.

CAM to GO brings art projects inspired by the exhibitions at CAM into the community. CAM’s education and community programs are funded by The Goodnight Education Foundation, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, IBM Community Grants,  The SunTrust Foundation, the Dreamville Foundation, and United Arts of Raleigh and Wake County. The CAM to Go Initiative is funded by The Asha and Sajjan Agarwal Foundation.