De­sign

An ar­biter of taste tells us what they are read­ing, watch­ing, lis­ten­ing to and more

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents -

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.

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