The Renaissance/Gold Collection of 1981 was inspired by the combination of the royal wedding, historic dress from the Elizabethan period, and panniers from the Victoria and Albert Museum's collection of historic costume.
Vogue sent a memo around to fashion designers saying that there was going to be a royal wedding. Due to press speculation, Zandra Rhodes assumed this would be the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. Zandra Rhodes later went on to design silk chiffon dresses for Princess Diana in the mid-1980s, such as this evening dress, describing her as "like a fairytale princess."
The Zandra Rhodes Modern Renaissance Look consisted of a number of separate garments that could be worn together, or individually, to varying effects. For example, a gold pleated jacket could be worn over a plain black dress, as worn by radio host Sue MacGregor on the cover of the Radio Times. Whereas the singer Diana Ross was photographed by Richard Avedon wearing a bodice with pleated gold sleeves and gold pleated over panniers with black leggings. Zandra Rhodes also wore a version of her Modern Renaissance Look to the opening of the Barbican Centre, London, 1982.
The Total Renaissance Look consisted of: a quilted laced bodice with attached gold pleated sleeves and collar; gold pleated over panniers; a screen printed skirt in pleated black net; a pleated or plain gold skirt; and white cotton under panniers. This complete Look is in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and was featured in their exhibition Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950, 19 May 2012 - 6 January 2013. In 2012 the fashion photographer Sølve Sundsbø photographed this ensemble for the Royal Mail collection of British Fashion Designer stamps.
This video is part of the Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection at: zandrarhodes.ucreative.ac.uk