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Legendary London textile & fashion designer Zandra Rhodes is highly sought after among vintage afficionados & collectors for her highly decorative pieces, and this five piece ensemble from her A/W 1973 'Shell Collection' is an outstanding & museum worthy example of her early output under her self titled label. The standout piece of the ensemble is the 'Shell Spiral' jacket, the shape of which was influenced both by the layout of Zandra's original shell textile print and the organic nautilus spiral form of a seashell. Rendered in saturated shades of crimson, deep pink & slate blue, the whole jacket is padded with quilting in satin stitch, and the 3D effect hems and cuffs are in padded satin. This unique design would serve as a blueprint for later quilted jackets in Zandra's A/W 1985 & A/W 2012 collections, and was also exhibited (in a different colourway) in the 2019 Fashion and Textile Museum's 'Zandra Rhodes: 50 Years of Fabulous' retrospective. Follow this link for a short video on the 'Shell Spiral' jacket from Zandra's digital study archives: http://www.zandrarhodes.ucreative.ac.uk/2013/02/reinterpreting-shell-jacket.html
The set also includes a matching crimson silk blouse & satin maxi skirt, both trimmed with purple beads, a pleated printed fabric purse & an elaborately beaded purple satin sash belt.
Purchased from the estate of Lady Mary Fairfax, one of Australia's wealthiest & best dressed socialites, this ensemble was most likely custom made for her making it the only one in existence. A storied & rare piece of vintage fashion history, this ensemble has undoubtedly led a very exciting life already & is ready for more adventures with a fabulous new owner!
Marked size: UK 10
Best for: S/M
Measurements (laid flat & fastened): jacket= shouders: 23″/59cm, length: 28"/71.5cm, top = shoulders: 17"/43.5cm, bust: 23"/59cm, waist: 26"/66.5cm, length: 24"/61.5cm, sleeve length: 18.5"/47.5cm, skirt = elastic waist unstretched: 15.5″/40cm, hips: 20″/51cm, length: 37.5″/95.5cm, belt = length: 85"/215cm, width: 5"/13cm, bag = 6"/16cm x 6"/16cm
Material: satin rayon & silk
Condition: Excellent/Very Good; some signs of wear to the pieces with the most obvious & major being an aproximately 2"/5cm diamater area of fabric damage to the bottom of the skirt and a few black marks beside this. Other flaws include minor marking to the interior lining of the jacket & purse (neither visible when worn) and some wear/damage to the beading on the top, skirt & belt, as well as some subtle marking to the top & belt. Overall this ensemble presents very well & the jacket is in particularly excellent condition.