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A Friday in Dunedin: Butterflies and an insight into a Zandra Rhodes the woman and the fashion designer

Helen Lee April 12, 2010 Comments Off

Since we’re suffering quite a backlog in terms of planned blog posts, I must take a few more moments of your time to regal you in my experiences in Dunedin, New Zealand. What better way to start the morning than with having breakfast with the butterflies at the Otago Museum (Dunedin situated in the Otago region of New Zealand’s South Island) where not only butterflies were on display but quails ran about the ground and turtles craned their necks to watch you walk past.

After a quaint start to the day we were off to hear iD Dunedin Fashion Week‘s special guest, Zandra Rhodes talk about her lifelong love affair with textiles. Known among some long time fashion journalists as the ‘forgotten’ fashion designer after she blazed a trail alongside Vivienne Westwood in Britian’s punk era, Rhodes has made a comeback in the last decade.

But it really kicked off for Rhodes when she was working with two “crazy Ukranian models” in the 1960s and they suggested she go to New York City to “make her fortune”. Her bold and creative prints caught the eye of Vogue’s Diane Vreeland who gave the up and coming designer plenty of editorial coverage, to which Rhodes commented that “its not like that today” in reference to how advertising corresponds to editorial in magazines today.

Interesting facts about Zandra Rhodes we learnt:

  • A young Grace Coddington once modeled for Rhodes
  • Manolo Blahnik‘s first shoe collection debuted on the Zandra Rhodes runway
  • When a Versace collection in the 1990s resembled a Rhodes print, Suzy Menkes of The International Herald Tribune wrote just that. Only to get herself banned from Versace runway shows for two years.
  • Rhodes keeps a book of “copies” where she tracks designs she has come across that are similar (or in some cases identical) to ones she has done in the past. One notable one was a print done by John Galliano for Christian Dior which resembled

Don’t believe us that Rhodes would do the name-and-shame? Well watch the third video below where she talks about one of her prints from the 1970s popping up in a recent Viktor & Rolf collection. We’ve yet to hunt down the Viktor & Rolf print in questions, but I’m sure if you ask Rhodes politely she may produce this book of copies she owns.

Then in an interesting twist, I went off the beaten fashion track of Dunedin…

We went to visit Lanarch Castle (which in all honesty is only 130 years old, nothing compared to castles in Europe). With a beautiful story and gorgeous gardens (including a Alice in Wonderland castle) it was fun to envision what life would have been like back in the 1870′s, though I think I prefer the little things in life like heating!

If I had known we would then go off and trek around the Dunedin wilderness to check out the Yellow-Eyed Penguins at Penguin Place. It was the molting time of year so we spotted many penguins stuffed full of fish and just standing around. It seem that the sea lions had the same idea as we caught a few lazing about and enjoying the chilly weather.

Note: If you’re going from a fashion-y morning to something slightly more bushy, bring a change of shoes. While my boots from EziBuy were more than suitable, somehow I think hiking boots may have been more suitable. But that would have been another outfit entirely ;)

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More from this series

Leaving on a jet plane to Dunedin, New Zealand

Zandra Rhodes to hit New Zealand for iD Dunedin Fashion Week 2010

Dunedin, first impressions are everything darling

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SASSYBELLA.com was be flown to Dunedin, New Zealand thanks to Tourism Dunedin by Pacific Blue and stayed as a guest of the St Clair Beach Resort.

Pacific Blue, International Airline of Virgin Blue offers flights from Sydney to Dunedin with fares starting from $259 AUD per person, one way on the net. If you’re looking to keep entertained, simply hire the digEplayer. Your own personal in-flight system features movies, TV shows and a broad array of music for an additional $20. If you fancy extra leg room, book the Blue Zone seating option for an additional $45 on top of your fare. Check out www.flypacificblue.com for current specials, bookings and all your travel needs.

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