Zandra Rhodes Talks About Designing for Freddie
Great article from the Telegraph with Zandra Rhodes discussing designing for the band.
"I was working out of my little attic in Porchester Road in Bayswater at the time. Britt Ekland used to come up for fittings and Baby Jane Holzer. And one day Freddie (Mercury) rang me. I didn't really know who he was then. He said he and Brian (May) wanted outfits for a big show," recalls Zandra Rhodes of the day she met the two stars of what Mercury called "the most preposterous band that's ever lived."
"They both turned up about 7 o'clock one night, clattering up three flights of stairs in their platform boots. I hadn't designed any menswear then, but I'd already done some things for Marc Bolan, so I knew they'd want something flamboyant. Freddie needed to be able to move his arms, so he loved the idea of pleats. He'd run a stall in Kensington Market and he obviously had an eye and could see the potential.
"There were rails and rails of all my designs and Freddie tried a few things on and paraded up and down. He and Brian were lovely, very discreet and charming."
"I did some sketches for them and we agreed on these pleated 'winged' designs in heavy white satin. I had them made up, I finished them off and then I had them delivered. I obviously charged them, but I can't remember how much. Then I went as a guest of Queen to see them at Earl's Court. The place was absolutely packed. And the designs looked fantastic under the lights."
Zandra's designs will feature in a major exhibition later this month, "Stormtroopers in Stilettoe's: Queen, The Early Years.", which will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the formation of Queen, and mark the 20th anniversary of Freddie Mercury's death.
The exhibition will open at the Truman Brewery, in Brick Lane, East London, on February 25th."Stormtroopers in Stiletto's" is the first-ever, large-scale Queen exhibition and will be a fabulous whirlwind of rock 'n' roll glamour, documenting the formation of the band and its first five albums. London will be the first stop on the exhibition's world tour.
After four decades, the collective work of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon continues to resonate around the globe, inspiring a host of diverse artists from Lady Gaga, who took her name from Queen's 1984 hit single, 'Radio Ga Ga', to Axl Rose , Katy Perry and Dave Grohl and The Foo Fighters. Twenty years after the death of their phenomenal and flamboyant singer, Freddie Mercury remains an icon beyond measure.
The exhibition is a vibrant and contemporary, 360-degree, three-dimensional experience taking visitors to the heart of Queen by combining unseen and bespoke interactive audio and visual environments with never-before-seen snap-shots from the band's personal archive.
A series of rooms will chart the Queen's formation from the period when Freddie and Roger Taylor were working in Kensington Market (the Shoreditch of its time) by day and writing in Freddie's bedsit by night, through to the band's iconic live show in front of more than 150,000 people in Hyde Park in 1976. The themed rooms include one for each of the first five albums 'Queen', 'Queen II', 'Sheer Heart Attack', 'A Night At The Opera' and 'A Day At The Races'.
Some of the unique items on display include Freddie Mercury's legendary ballet pumps that led to one of the more unlikely encounters of the era, when Queen and the Sex Pistols were recording the same studio in 1976. Sid Vicious bumped into Freddie and said 'Ullo Fred, I see you've bought ballet to the masses then.' To which Freddie replied, 'Oh yes, Mr Ferocious. Trying my best dear.'
"Stormtroopers in Stilettoe's" will run until March 12, open from 11am until 8pm daily; entry is free
Meanwhile, the BBC is expected to screen a prime time documentary featuring interviews with Brian May and Roger Taylor, in the summer, and filming is due to start this year on Peter Morgan's Queen movie, starring Sasha Baron Cohen as Freddie.