Zandra Rhodes "Sparkle" chiffon dress, 1970s-80s
Like Charles Frederick Worth, Zandra Rhodes received her early training in textile design. From the beginning, her work appealed to the self-assured woman who is so chic that she is beyond fashion, as is Zandra Rhodes herself.
Rhodes' "Sparkle" pattern in this dress is justly celebrated. The enigmatic zigzag motif hints at an arcane, portentous mystery. Indeed, Rhodes has frequently used words as design motifs. In textile design, she is the master of semiotics, the science of signs and symbols (words or abstract motifs.)
Rhodes made extensive use of this beautiful and mesmerizing print, in various color combinations, in her first American fashion show and again in our black and white version in a later collection.
The fluid styling of the dress works very well with the freeform print. The neckline, held in place only with a heavy strand of faux pearls, adapts to the pose of the wearer, draping lower in front or falling off one shoulder.
The sleeves are slashed open and outlined with pearls to reveal the wearer's upper arm underneath. A sophisticated woman understands the discreet, almost intimate, allure of this style. The skirt dips lower to a point in back. The sheer dress was originally worn over a black slip.
In the early 1970s, Rhodes was inspired by an early 17th century slashed satin bodice in the Victoria and Albert Museum to create the sparkle design. Yet Rhodes' encyclopedic knowledge of fashion history was also undoubtedly at work. She could make inspired use of the slash, a very old and recurring fashion theme, dating from the time of King Henri II of France (1547-1559).
The condition is excellent. All you need is black slip.
The size is marked English 12 and American 10.
It measures: 38" bust and waist, and 40" hip from shoulder to front hem (7" longer in back).