Zandra Rhodes talks textile design, chunky jewelry

Zandra Rhodes — all pink hair, teal fingernails, and jangling bracelets — swept into Boston Wenesday night for a lecture at MassArt. The British designer, 61, known for her loud prints and punk aesthetic, has dressed boldfacers from Jackie O to Paris Hilton (Rhodes hopes Lady Gaga comes calling, too) and dabbled in house wares, jewelry, and shoes over her multi-decade career. She also founded the Fashion and Textile Museum in London.

(Handout photo)

The fashion force shared some life and style tips before and during the talk:

When in doubt, sketch. Rhodes’ textiles are inspired by her world travels and by trips to museums. Her “Indian Feather Sunspray” came out of a particularly fertile visit to the National Museum of the American Indian in New York in 1970. You can trade your pencils for a camera, of course, “but a photo doesn’t mean anything until you’ve experienced it.”

Experiment on yourself. “If you don’t wear your own clothes, then what are you promoting?” Rhodes asked, as she showed slides of herself through the years. The caftan she donned at MassArt, in fact, featured her print of “quite mad daisies.”

You’re never fully dressed without accessories. “I think jewelry and makeup are things that have to be added to a dress for you to face the world. Even if I’m wearing jeans, I wear just as much jewelry. And when I travel through customs, I stand there clunking everything off into that tray and I refuse to compromise.”

Choose your friends thoughtfully. “Always surround yourself with keen, enthusiastic people, and leave the others anywhere else.”

(Courtney Hollands/Boston Magazine)