The one les­son I’ve learned from life

Daily Mail - - Inspire - In­ter­view: LIZ HOG­GARD

Dame Zan­dra Rhodes

FaSh­ion icon Zan­dra Rhodes, 77, has been de­sign­ing since the Six­ties for clients in­clud­ing Diana Ross and Princess Diana. She splits her time be­tween Lon­don and Cal­i­for­nia, where her part­ner, for­mer film ex­ec­u­tive Salah has­sanein, 97, lives.


Set­tling down and hav­ing chil­dren was never a goal for me — though i some­times think that do­ing a fash­ion col­lec­tion twice a year is like hav­ing a baby every six months. You have to try to drag ideas out of nowhere, which is hard. But i’d never want to do any­thing else.

My mantra is: don’t give up. every mis­take is an orig­i­nal ex­pres­sion that leads to another new idea.

if you be­lieve in what you’re do­ing, you keep do­ing it. And you keep do­ing it at what­ever cost. it isn’t nec­es­sar­ily go­ing to make you a for­tune but, on the other hand, if you be­lieve in some­thing enough, you have to see it through.

the les­son i’ve learned is ev­ery­thing in life has its own price. When i give lec­tures to stu­dents, i say: ‘You can ac­tu­ally have what­ever you want in life. But you have to ac­cept the con­se­quences. You reach up like Alice in Won­der­land and swal­low the pill, but once you’ve swal­lowed the pill, you must take what comes with it.’

that might be fame, for ex­am­ple — even when you’re feel­ing lousy and anti-so­cial and don’t want to talk to peo­ple. Or it might be a life­time of hard work to get where you want to be with your ca­reer and leav­ing no time to start a fam­ily.

Some­times, i wish i could be a bit more re­laxed. But my gen­er­a­tion likes to work and there are great role mod­els — women who never re­tired — such as Coco Chanel and He­lena Ru­bin­stein. it’s im­por­tant to keep cre­at­ing some­thing of value.

When i’m in Cal­i­for­nia, i get up at 5am so that i can talk to my lon­don of­fice. i don’t need much sleep. in fact, i go to bed in my make-up! i don’t like see­ing my­self with­out it, so i leave it on, then re-ap­ply in the morn­ing.

Peo­ple recog­nise me be­cause of my pink hair. Once, i dyed it brown and no one recog­nised me. i didn’t mind, but they were so apolo­getic that it wasn’t worth it. i didn’t feel very in­ter­est­ing, ei­ther. i like a bit of colour — it makes me feel good. it means you’re pre­sentable to the world.

Dame Zan­dra Rhodes has de­signed flags that will fly from the South­bank Cen­tre in Lon­don to cel­e­brate its new fes­ti­val, (B)old, may 14-20, south­bank­cen­

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