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London designer Zandra Rhodes is highly sought after among vintage afficionados & collectors for her highly decorative pieces, with her hand printed & pleated silk chiffon gowns from the 1970's being the most coveted of her output. Not only does this piece check all of those boxes, it is also the near twin to a dress held in the permanent collection of London's V&A museum, which was designed by Rhodes for the wedding of fellow fashion designer Elizabeth Emanuel in 1976. The V&A archival holding describes the dress as follows: "The pleated ruffles and soft, fluid lines of this wedding dress epitomise the romantic designs of Zandra Rhodes. Her signature piece is the fabric, which she has hand-printed with a stylised floral design characteristic of many of her patterns." Read more & view the dress in the V&A archives here:
Whilke it would make the perfect wedding dress for a bohemian bride, we think this dress could work for many other formal & semi-formal occasions too. Made of finely pleated pale yellow silk chiffon printed with a pattern of waves and fronded palms, Rhodes "has cleverly reflected the movement and structure of the latter in the structure of the dress – in the pleating of the bodice and skirt and the undulating frills around the waist. Decorated with tiny pearls, and irrisdecent, tinted flowers and leaf shapes, the dress seems made for a sea nymph." Claire Regnault, senior curator at The Museum of New Zealand wrote a deep dive on the dress containing this gorgeous description for the museum blog - read her article here:
A storied & rare piece, this is obviously museum worthy but it would be a huge shame if this were to be locked up in an archive as it is absolutely beautiful on and very much presents as modern & wearable. Whether this ends up in the hands of a collector, a bride or a hallowed institution its new owner is sure to treasure it!
Marked size: none
Best for: XS/S
Measurements (laid flat & fastened): dropped shouders: 27″/69cm, bust: free, elastic waist unstretched: 12.5″/32cm, hips: 23″/59cm, length: 56″/142cm, sleeve length = 12″/31cm
Condition: Very Good/Good; signs of wear including yellowing & fading to print. Minor markings around neckline which may be removed by drycleaning.