A Quick Chat With: Zandra Rhodes

'I don’t mind being asked if I’m Vivienne Westwood'

Zandra Rhodes, 69, is an English fashion designer. Her early textile designs were considered too outrageous by the traditional British manufacturers so she decided to make dresses from her own fabrics and pioneered the very special use of printed textiles as an intrinsic part of the garments she created.With her bright pink hair, theatrical make-up and art jewellery, she has stamped her identity on the international world of fashion. She was one of the new wave of British designers who put London at the forefront of the international fashion scene in the 1970's. Zandra was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1997 in recognition of her contribution to fashion and textiles

If I weren’t talking to you right now I’d be… working, ideally designing!

A phrase I use far too often is… I’ve too much to do.

I wish people would take more notice of… my beautiful wear-able dresses, not just me as a personality.

A common misperception of me is… that I am not designing dresses anymore just because I do not have a shop, or because my dresses are not mentioned on the forefront of publicity the whole time. I don’t mind being asked if I’m Vivienne Westwood or Betsy Johnston!

The most surprising thing that happened to me was… being made Chancellor of the University of Creative Arts.

I’m not a politician but… if I were I'd stop exorbitant pensions once politicians are out of office! Also, if the PM makes a decision to go to war, their sons should automatically be enrolled to go too.

I’m good at… cooking and gardening.

I’m bad at… emails! A phone call is more efficient and less time consuming!

My ideal night out is… actually a night in. A dinner party for about 20 at my house with me cooking. I don’t go out to the bars or clubs except under sufferance.

In moments of weakness I… cook.

In another life I'd have been... the fascist dictator, Eva Peron.

The best age to be is… the age you are. Otherwise I’d give up. There is no point in looking back to the past to wonderful dresses of mine that the whole world noticed.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is… good, better, best, never let it rest, till your good is better and your better best.

Zandra Rhodes’ handbag collection is launching for A/W 10 and will be available to buy nationwide from 3rd September. Stockist details: 0161 764 8528