An arbiter of taste tells us what they are reading, watching, listening to and more
We take a closer look at String, the brand behind Sweden’s bestselling furniture concept, and chat with textile designer Dame Zandra Rhodes about her cultural influences
In the 1970s, Dame Zandra Rhodes’ textile designs earned her the nickname ‘Princess of Punk’, and her printed dresses from the era are collectors’ items – her greatest hits have recently been recreated by hand, and are available to buy on Matchesfashion.com. In 2003, Rhodes founded London’s Fashion and Textile Museum, and she still works at her headquarters above the building. Last year she converted some of her prints into rugs, in collaboration with Floor Story (from £350, floorstory.co.uk; @zandra_rhodes_; zandrarhodes.com).
My all-time favourite piece of music
is Boléro by Maurice Ravel ( 3). As my original mentor [ fashion editor] Diana Vreeland ( 7) said, ‘The eye has to travel’, but now that I can’t travel extensively for inspiration, music has become important for letting my imagination run wild. The record that makes me feel instantly happy is Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles, although we recently played the album ABBA Gold at a staff party and danced until we dropped. I also find Brian Eno’s constant re-creations very inspiring.
At the moment I’m reading The Secret Lives of Colour ( 6) by [ELLE Decoration columnist] Kassia St Clair. I heard about it on BBC Radio 4, which I listen to even in America. I recommend the book to all creatives – and non-creatives, too! My favourite film is either Casablanca ( 2) or Sleepless in Seattle ( 4) depending on my mood, but, for visual stimulation, I’m a huge fan of [director and screenwriter] Peter Greenaway. His films have a postsurrealist, dream-like quality that I often think about in my own work. The quote that I regularly refer to is ‘Good, better, best, never let it rest. ’Til your good is better and your better, best.’ My mum taught dressmaking in London during the war and used to say this to us. My favourite museum? It’s difficult to choose between London’s V&A and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art ( 8) – their shows are always mindblowing. Both of these venues gave me the inspiration to set up the Fashion and Textile Museum. As fashion started to speed up, I wanted to preserve craft knowledge, techniques and the intellectual side of things. I love to collect modern British pottery by Carol Mcnicoll and Kate Malone ( 5), sculptural mirrored objects by Andrew Logan and paintings by Duggie Fields. Their pieces shape my life. If I won the lottery, the work of art I’d buy would be a David Hockney painting. He was at the Royal College of Art ahead of me, so I’ve always looked up to him. He’s a brilliant artist who captured the American West Coast in an individual way, and turned Yorkshire into California. My favourite place in the world is India ( 1). The colours there are richer and purer than anywhere else. There are seemingly no rules about what you can do with colour in India, and I always like to break out of the confines of what is good taste, as defined by the self-titled ‘fashion capitals’. My ideal night is a dinner party at home, cooked by me. I once had dinner with Salvador Dalí. If only all parties could be like that. We can but try. I have designed my home to be fun, colourful and uplifting, with my crazy china everywhere, and more people make my home more fun. It’s the formula for staying young.