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Felt coat

Screen-printed felt, elastic, wooden beads, Knitted Circle and Diamonds and Roses prints

Zandra Rhodes, London, UK

Follow the thread


Zandra Rhodes originally trained as a textile designer and her passion for pattern and colour lies at the heart of her designs. Rhodes designs textile and garment as a single entity, allowing the pattern to dictate the shape of the garment.

Rhodes has travelled the world seeking inspiration, armed with a sketchbook to record her ideas. These sketches became the basis for new designs. The influence of other cultures is evident throughout her rich and varied career, from her choice of colour and pattern, to her adoption of garments such as saris and kaftans.

Social Culture

Zandra Rhodes is one of the most recognisable fashion designers of her generation. She has become a brand in her own right, with her bright fuchsia hair and theatrical make up. Her colourful designs are matched by her colourful personality.

Rhodes graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1964, launching her first solo collection in 1969. She was one of a new generation of young British designers – including Mary Quant, Sally Tuffin, Marion Foale, Jean Muir and John Bates – responsible for changing the fashion landscape with their radical new approach to design and understanding of youth culture.

In the late 1960s, Rhodes made a number of screen-printed felt coats. These voluminous garments were an ideal canvas for her bright, illustrative patterns. Only five coats are recorded as having been made in yellow with this combination of prints and cut. This one was bought at Fortnum & Mason, which had the exclusive right to sell this design.

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Craft Skills

Zandra Rhodes is renowned for her use of unexpected materials and instinctive understanding of the interplay between different colours. The skirt of this coat is made from one large circle of felt, which acts as a blank canvas for her painterly prints. The hem is printed with the Diamonds and Roses print and the upper part with the Knitted Circles print.

Rhodes favours silk-screen printing. This method involves transferring an image onto a screen by coating it in a light-sensitive liquid, placing an image rendered on Kodatrace onto the screen, and exposing it to a strong light source. The areas not exposed to light wash away, leaving a clear mesh through which the dye passes. An individual screen is used for each colour.