Talks & Events

Changemakers: Zandra Rhodes

19 Jul 2024 6.30-7.45pm

Royal Academy Of Arts
London W1J 0BD


British designer Dame Zandra Rhodes discusses her bold distinctive designs and illustrious career with Shahidha Bari.

In this conversation, Zandra Rhodes will talk about championing creativity and individuality over five decades of designing iconic fashion collections.

A pioneer of the British and international fashion scene since the late 1960s, Zandra Rhodes' dramatic designs and her own distinctive look have paved the way for fashion, challenging cultural conventions and expectations. Rhodes is an era-defining designer who has dressed international stars including Freddie Mercury, Diana Ross, Debbie Harry, and Princess Diana.

In 2003, she founded London’s Fashion and Textile Museum. In 2020, she formed the Zandra Rhodes Foundation, enabling her work to be used for the learning, creativity and imagination of current and future designers and researchers. In 2015 she was made a Dame in recognition of her contribution to fashion and textiles.

This event marks the launch of Zandra Rhodes' memoir Iconic: My Life in Fashion in 50 Objects, in which she shares her life story for the first time. Rhodes will be signing copies after the conversation.

Chair: Shahidha Bari is an academic and broadcaster. She is Professor of Fashion Cultures and Histories at London College of Fashion and the presenter of Free Thinking and Front Row BBC Radio 4. She’s the author of Dressed: The Philosophy of Clothes, and Look Again: Fashion (Tate, 2022).

Changemakers is a series of conversations with women across the cultural sector, highlighting how their work has shifted narratives, broken down barriers, and generated change across the arts.

The series is inspired by the RA’s Angelica Kauffman exhibition and her role as a pioneering artist. Kauffman was one of only two female painters among the founding members of the Royal Academy in 1768, the other artist being Mary Moser. Kauffman helped to shape the direction of European art, reinventing the genre of history painting by focusing largely on female protagonists from classical history and mythology.

Angelica Kauffman is at the RA until 30 June 2024.

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