Rhodes has teamed with the Australian accessories designer Poppy Lissiman on a capsule collection that fuses her electric bright colors and distinctive textile designs with Lissiman’s expertise in sunglasses and handbags.
The collection will be available online globally from June 29, with prices starting from 115 pounds. It will be sold through Poppy Lissiman’s site.
The styles have freewheeling, hippie flair and include glasses with floating frames shaped like flowers in colors including green, orange and purple.
Other glasses’ wavy frames are modelled on Rhodes’ Wiggle print. One style comes in fuchsia (similar to Rhodes’ hair color) with matching lenses. There are also more tame tortoise shell and solid black styles based on Rhodes’ Wiggle design.
Bags large and small are also inspired by Rhodes’ vast textile archive. Blue or orange totes showcase the designer’s repeating Geo Sparkle pattern, and are edged with triangular ridges, like the spikes on a dinosaur’s back.
The Frill bag, meanwhile, features a big, asymmetrical lasagna ruffle around the edges and on the shoulder strap. That bag is inspired by Rhodes’ longtime use of romantic pleating in her designs.
In a video interview that stretched between England and Australia, the designers said the project has been a year in the making, and the partnership was a natural one given their joint love of pattern and color.
Rhodes said she’s always looking to work with brands that have a similar aesthetic, and designers who love pattern and color. She she’s also keen to reach a new audience.
“Poppy speaks to the youth of today. She’s created a magnetic and engaging brand and sells it directly to her customer which gives her such a deep understanding,” of her demographic, said Rhodes, adding, “We noticed synergies with the use of color and print in our work as soon as we met.”
Lissiman said she had a ball trawling through Rhodes’ archive, which contains designs that stretch back more than 50 years. She said that in the past she has spent many, many hours searching vintage stores, and hoping to find a Zandra Rhodes printed dress.
Lissiman launched her eponymous label in 2008, and later turned her attention exclusively to accessories. Her designs are bold, bright and play well on social media. Her sales are mainly direct-to-consumer.
The two creatives worked together online before they met in person, and Lissiman said they were aligned from the start.
“Zandra and her team did some sketches and we did, too, and they were really close to one another in terms of the aesthetic, the shapes and the silhouettes and so it was really easy to narrow down our ideas,” said Lissiman.
Rhodes, who created a series of moodboards of her designs for Lissiman, said she was impressed by the Australian designer’s technical expertise. “Poppy can see if the glasses are a tiny bit too big or too small, and she knows exactly what adjustments need to be made,” said Rhodes.
Lissiman’s eyewear is made in a Shenzhen factory which she’s been using for more than a decade. She said the factory is used to working with her unusual shapes and proportions.
The flower-shaped lenses, she added, were lifted directly from one of Rhodes’ prints
“I’d always wanted to do an asymmetrical eyewear shape and play with different dimensions. Zandra and her team actually played with the design even more, and until they were happy with the exact placement of the flowers. There was a lot of back and forth with that one,” Lissiman said.
Rhodes said she’ll continue collaborating with other creatives who inspire her and who allow her to reach new audiences.
“We don’t manufacture the Zandra Rhodes collection anymore, but we’ve been really very lucky in that we’ve been able to work with fabulous people like Poppy, and to concentrate on people who are specialized in certain products. We can add to their product and give them a little bit of Zandra Rhodes,” the designer said.
Rhodes has been busy of late. She has beens spending much of her time with her assistant, cataloguing all 6,000 of her historical garments – and deciding which museums they’re going to go to via the Zandra Rhodes Foundation.
For the launch of the new Poppy Lissiman collaboration in London, Rhodes said she plans to display the eyewear and bags together with some of her textile designs from the archive.