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Nothing Fazes Zandra, Not Even Her Current, Colorful Phase

October 09, 1987|DIANE REISCHEL | Times Staff Writer

Oh, Zandra. This isn't one of your quiet phases. Maybe behind those pink and fuchsia hair extensions, black fishnet stockings, yellow pumps and painted-pink eyebrows hides a proper Londoner.

Maybe not.

"I decided I should look dramatic on the catwalk today," said designer Zandra Rhodes, running a polka-dot fingernail down the bleached-and-baubled denim dress that hugged her like a baby-blue girdle.

"My hair's been pink since 1980, and it was green since 1970," she added, without so much as a wink.

In the tasteful expanse of Neiman-Marcus, Beverly Hills, this colorful refugee of late '60s psychedelic fashion had come to show her latest installment of ethereal, fantasy dresses.

But compared to the designer, the wispy chiffon dresses on display--then roaming the runway at a Bistro Garden fashion show--came across as tokens of understatement.

Rhodes says she had based the collection, which is heavily beaded in Egyptian and star patterns, on designs she had seen on a tomb in Egypt. "I wanted to do a feminine collection this year, and the stars just took over," she said. Her trim knee-length cocktail dresses and ornate evening looks weren't the only tricks Rhodes delivered for fall.

There were eccentric blue and pink dyed-mink and Tibetan-lamb wraps, witty business suits with long curved jackets and fringed and funky patchwork-denim minis.

At 47, Rhodes has lived through a rise, then a fall, then a rise of British design prestige internationally. But she says she's long since stopped analyzing the meaning and context of each decade of fashion.

"Every year is just different," she said, adding that her greater interest is in finding time for herself as the years rush by with seemingly greater momentum.

"I worry that as I get older, I don't have time to do what I love most of all, which is design. This is mostly business chores. I'm so busy, there's hardly time to breath e," she said, rushing away--a blur of a rainbow--to assist the lineup of slightly subdued-looking clients, awaiting the designer's counsel.

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