Rhodes Scholar

Zandra Rhodes gets set to open her British museum, and parties from Los Angeles to Miami, plus Madonna’s big shoot.

The museum was designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, and is his first project in Europe. Rhodes, who spends her time between London and San Diego, discovered him during one of her regular trips to California. "I love his use of color and his wonderful, simple shapes," she says. "He also happens to be incredibly charming."

The entrance, known as the Grand Pink Foyer, lives up to its name. It has a swirly mosaic floor made by the Australian terrazzo artist David Humphries and the design is based on one of Rhodes’ wiggle motifs. The electric blue Fashion Archway leads to the split-level Grand Gallery, which is spare, with custard-colored walls and industrial lighting. Meanwhile, the building’s exterior is bright orange, adding a jolt to Bermondsey Street, a narrow cobblestone road straight out of a Charles Dickens novel.

The museum will put on three shows a year, and there are no plans for a permanent exhibition, as Rhodes believes it isn’t good for clothing to be on permanent display. Her team, however, is working on a digital fashion and textile archive where students will be able to access the museum’s designs. The museum will also have a library and lecture room, and has already begun children’s educational programs.

"I started work on it in 1997 when no one was really paying attention to my designs," Rhodes says with a sigh. "Little did I know, my work would take off again, and I’d be so busy. Like life, it’s either feast or famine."
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