Fashion icon’s work on show in Medway

Fashion icon’s work on show in Medway

Zandra Rhodes at Rochester Art Gallery for the exhibition UCA – A Retrospective: Creativity Past, Present & Future. © Rikard Osterlund

Released: Thursday February 2, 2023

A new must-see exhibition of British fashion icon Dame Zandra Rhodes’ clothing and sketchbooks has now opened in historic Rochester.

The University of Creative Arts (UCA) split-site exhibition will be held at both UCA’s Zandra Rhodes Gallery and the Rochester Art Gallery on the city’s High Street.

UCA – A Retrospective: Creativity in the past, present and future focuses on individual stories and includes sketchbooks, photographs, and personal testimonies from alumni, staff, and students who have studied at Rochester over the past 130 years.

Commenting on her time and experiences at UCA Rochester, Dame Zandra Rhodes said: “UCA Rochester holds a special place in my history and heart. I was lucky enough to grow up in Chatham. At that time the college was called “Medway College of Art”, where I studied for three years from the age of 17.

“In honor of Rochester UCA and those who took part, I have curated a small exhibition of some of my most iconic styles, scheduled to open to the public in January 2023. You will see from my early sketchbooks on display how much of my early work was inspired by the Medway cities, and that upbringing will always be with me.

“I have fond memories of going to school in Fort Pitt, and on my morning walk to school, the wind whistled through my ears in the most poetic way.

“In addition to my original college sketchbook, I borrowed two later sketchbooks and some of my most iconic garment designs, such as a ’73/44 sundress’ and the ‘Manhattan wrap dress’. These designs have been worn by the likes of Donna Summer, Carolina Herrera and Lauren Bacall. I can’t wait for you all to come to Rochester and see this exhibit in person!”

The exhibition features works by more than 40 creatives, including renowned jeweler Stephen Webster, renowned fashion designer Wendy Dagworthy and multi-talented artist Billy Childish, who joins Dame Zara Rhodes and other UCA students, alumni, alumni and staff .

The free exhibition not to be missed is at the Rochester Art Gallery from Friday 27 January to Saturday 15 April 2023 and at the Zandra from Friday 27 January to Tuesday 14 March UCA’s Rhodes Gallery.

The Rochester Art Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm at the Medway Visitor Centre, 95 High Street, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1LX.

The Zandra Rhodes Gallery is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm at UCA Rochester, Fort Pitt, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1DZ.

Cllr Howard Doe, Vice Chair of Medway Council and Portfolio Owner for Community Services, said: “Medway has produced many talented creatives over the years and this exhibition is a great opportunity to celebrate their work and those who have benefited from it have study here. We look forward to Medway residents and visitors joining us at the exhibition over the coming months to see the fantastic work, past and present, which will no doubt inspire emerging artists and creatives.”

Rochester is easily accessible with its own train station with high speed services to London and a bus station and is close to major motorways.

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