It is so refreshing to see people actually having fun at a fashion event. Not the posed, “thank God we’re in, now look cool” kind of fun, or the “Yes, this is a head to toe JW Anderson look” kind of fun, but proper, unhindered fun. Classic 70s disco charged the space with a kind of static energy, with models slung around a central platform, draped in classic Zandra-print cloths: one pink haired model in a navy and gold silk Summer dress danced across and around the whole set in pure funk euphoria, luring in onlookers for joyous moments of dance connection. It’s telling that Zandra Rhodes — a designer who’s influence was biggest in the 70s — knows how to throw a fashion show. It felt like the audience were entering a genuine throwback, and a little party never hurt nobody!
Styles of the seventies have become a somewhat trans-seasonal stalwart across the globe in the past few years, with every kind of look from the Free Love era having it’s mini-fashion moment. And it is within this original lineage that Zandra Rhodes sits. Who better, then, to give us a slice of the pie now in 2016: with decadent raw silk shirts printed with deco-patterning and tied with giant pussy bows, to beautiful metallic jacquard flick-dresses in blacks and blues, and pinks and blues. The pieces were a luxurious reimagining of classic hippie tropes: something which Rhodes should be celebrated for back in the 70s, as well as right now.
Just a number
There was a rip-roaring group of seventy-somethings in attendance, dressed in all array of sheers, thigh highs and huge ponchos, and it was with them the party started. Obvious friends and peers of Zandra — the girls were dancing throughout the space, posing for snaps and chatting to every member of the press. It’s no surprise a more senior designer would draw a slightly older crowd, but the result was one of those situations you realise is so rare only once you’re in it: the idea of so many generations together in a space, equalised by their similar loves for fashion and, evidently, dancing. It serves to bolster the hypothesis that it is through collective enjoyment that social constructs are dissolved, a big claim for a fashion event to achieve, but there was something quite special in the air at Zandra last night, and it wasn’t just the bias cut jacquard.