Fall 1979 Zandra Rhodes Book Piece 'Chinese Squares' Printed Red Silk Chiffon Dress
This collection was inspired by Zandra's trip to China. She came back with sketchbooks filled from her travels there and was particularly struck by "the trellises and fretwork used by the Chinese, framing everything, making squares, bordering each simple visual plane." This became the foundation for her 'Chinese Square" print that we see here on this dress. In between the angular print is her signature 'scribble heads' print that appeared in several earlier collections. The overdress part of this piece appears on page 158 of the book 'The Art of Zandra Rhodes with her catalogue identification of 79/89.
This is one of my favorite pieces by Zandra that I have had in the shop. The bold color combined with the historical significance of her work during this time period make it a string collection piece. The silk she has used for this dress is the red that she used throughout the collection that year. The shade was a very specific red that she developed and was based on the red that she fell in love during her trip. The outer layer of the dress is made from a red silk chiffon with a high rounded neckline that ties at the back. The sleeves fall to the elbow and I love how their shape is blocked out by the hand painted Chinese Squares print. Each sleeve is then finished with an edging of beads. More beads trim the edges around the panels that make up the top layer of the skirt. The bodice is cut loose and easy and is lined in silk. This inner silk lining at the top changes to a light jersey for the inner skirt. That jersey is then overlaid with a long printed silk panel that runs down the front and another down the back. At each hip there is a shorter panel of silk that ends just below the hip, somewhat like an exposed pannier. The way that these panels are set are a nod to the manner in which traditional Chinese skirts are constructed. Everything is attached at the elastic waist so that it just simply slips on. It is extremely easy to wear despite that it looks so highly structured and ornate. A remarkable and rare piece from one of her key collections. Excellent condition with a small note below
The dress slips on the wear with an elastic waist and a tie at the back of the neck. Hand beaded and hand rolled hem. A small repair near the neck. There are a couple of areas were the beads the edge the panels of the over skirt are missing or have lost their coating, but none so bad that you would notice unless specifically hunting for it.
Sleeves: 14" approx.
Shoulders: no defined seam
Bust: 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Elastic waist: 11-15" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 17-21" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 14" from neck to waist
Skirt: 42" from waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
Reference Photos: (1) Page 158 of the book 'The Art of Zandra Rhodes'. / (2-3) Fall 1979 Zandra Rhodes Runway. / (4-5) Jennifer Beals at the Costume Designers Guild Awards, January 2020.
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.
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