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In conversation with Zandra Rhodes

Famous for her original use of textiles and revolutionary garment shapes, we get into bed with British fashion and textile designer, Zandra Rhodes to discuss sleep, her bed design for Savoir and life in New York in the 70s.
Zandra Rhodes in a Savoir bed

Zandra Rhodes Iconic British Designer

Zandra Rhodes spoke with Savoir about her sleep experience over the years.
Headshot photo by Sarah Mireya

 

“The amazing thing about the Savoir Bed is that for the first time in my life the peace it exudes makes me want to experience breakfast in bed! A luxury I don’t allow myself! I think it may change my life…”

Sleep

 

What does sleep mean to you?

Peace, total relaxation.

Having celebrated your 80th Birthday last year, how has your approach to sleep changed over the years?

I think I am starting to appreciate sleep more and more. Especially for its healing properties and health benefits.

Do you think there is a connection between creativity and sleep?

I don’t know. I have never slept well enough to know. Until the Coronavirus lockdown, I slept no more than 5 hours a night! I don’t recall dreams, I would love to say something poetic like how I find inspiration in my dreams, but the truth is I don’t! One thing you can’t deny is that a well-rested body leads to a more switched on mind!

How important is your bed to you?

More important than it ever has been. It’s a sanctuary from the madness! A complete space to shut off from the world.

How do you switch off?

My head hits the pillow, and I am switched off! It doesn’t take me too much to get to sleep, in fact, I can do it standing up!

 

Zandra Rhodes Lilies Bed

The iconic ‘Lilies’ motif from 1971 has been reimagined into her design for Savoir.

 

Design

 

What is the inspiration behind the new design? Why did you choose to incorporate Lilies?

I suppose I have always had lilies secretly in my life. My mother’s wedding picture with her bouquet of lilies and lilies in her hair. Then I went to Japan in 1971 and drew lilies given to me by Issey Miyake. Lilies signify romance and peacefulness, everything that a Savoir bed is about.

Can you tell us a bit more about the colourways chosen?

We wanted two colourways to choose from that have opposing energies. The green is opulent and luxe, there is something sensual about it. Whereas the pastel colours are cool toned and airy.

Why did you decide to collaborate with Savoir?

I love what Savoir stands for, craftsmanship and luxury. We started talking and we realised we had synergy in so many areas of our design processes – a significant one of these is us both being British Heritage brands.

Zandra Rhodes for Savoir

 

A selection of custom designs for the Lilies Bed from Zandra Rhodes for Savoir.

 

What do you think is so special about a made to measure bed?

I think it is one of the most special things one could have in life. We spend 1/3 of our lives in our bed – it is the best investment one can make!

How do you want people to feel when they are in a ZR bed?

Very special whilst they are laying, resting and experiencing the exquisite design and craftsmanship.

How different is designing a bed to clothes?

The Savoir headboard is an iconic statement and I used my iconic print, the Field of Lilies. I wouldn’t say the design process is too different for me. I always think in 3D and in this instance that’s what was needed!

 

Zandra Rhodes Lilies Bed Details

Zandra Rhodes loves how pattern and colour can change people’s moods and how they feel. 

 

Your penthouse is just a wonderful space, how has your interior style inspired the design?

My penthouse is all about pattern and colour, my Savoir bed is about pattern and colour! I love how colour and print have the potency to change your mood and how you feel, I wondered how this would relate to your body and mind at night, the peace and mood it brings – the calm and ambience.

Your home is a truly personalised space, how have you created this?

I built the Fashion and Textile building and the whole interior has grown around me. I first painted the rainbow walls and organised my glittering tiled floor, I put up paintings by my friends and colourful carved screens I designed in India. I guess you could say I take things and inspiration from everywhere I go, that’s what makes it so personal.

There are so many amazing paintings and pottery within your penthouse, can you tell us about three pieces that are truly treasured?

My Duggie Fields Landscape Painting

My Andrew Logan Crystal Chandelier

My Kate Malone Vases

What are your thoughts on the worlds of fashion and interiors colliding?

It is wonderful that textile design bridges and transcends everything combining fashion and interiors. I studied textile design for furnishings at the RCA. I suppose you could say I am going back to my roots.

 

New York and Zandra Rhodes

Zandra Rhodes described New York as “A land of Promise” for her.
Headshot photo by chris bissell

 

“I suppose you could say New York influenced me with the hodgepodge of culture and the amazing electric personalities I came across!”

 

New York

 

You lived in New York for a long period of time, can you tell us a bit about that?

New York in the ’70s and ’80s was my world! Bergdorf Goodman and Marthas Park Avenue had windows of my dresses and I had a Zandra Rhodes shop within Bloomingdales. Diana Vreeland, The High Priestess of American Vogue commissioned my clothes to be photographed by Natalie Wood for Vogue. My New York apartment was in Architectural Digest. New York really was the place it all started. A land of promise!

How did living in NY influence you?

I had a duplex apartment on the East Side in the 80s – I used to show there. I did my first show in New York in the amazing house of top interior decorator Angelo Donghia. I used top Warhol models Donna Jordan and Pat Cleveland. I met Charles James at his apartment in The Chelsea Hotel and made clothes for the jet set: Mica Ertegun / Chessy Rayner, DD Ryan, Princess Razziwell (Jackie O’s sister) and Lauren Bacall. I stayed in Divine’s penthouse – this is where our friendship blossomed. I suppose you could say New York influenced me with the hodgepodge of culture and the amazing electric personalities I came across!

Do you have any favourite places in NY?

I adore late nights at the Metropolitan Museum on Fridays, I also love the Brooklyn Museum which currently has an exhibit on Studio 54 – I am lucky enough to remember Studio 54 and the FABULOUS parties held there! I remember falling asleep in my sequinned bra next to Tina Chow, there is even a photo to prove it in the current exhibition!

 

To discover how the SHH Studio used the elegant arc of lilies from Zandra Rhodes as inspiration to create three bedroom schemes that convey a different mood and design approach, read another article:  Designing with Lilies – SHH Interiors | Savoir Beds