This fearless fashion designer is collaborating with IKEA, and it's the stuff of technicolor dreams

Grazia Editor in Chief Alison Tay looks for clues in Zandra Rhodes’ rainbow apartment ahead of her collab with IKEA
This fearless fashion designer is collaborating with IKEA, and it's the stuff of technicolor dreams

I once had lunch with British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes in her colour-pop London penthouse atop the Fashion & Textile Museum, and I fell so hard for her eclectic aesthetic, fearless colour clashing, and endless rails of archive prints that I asked if I could move in. The good news for the English national treasure is that it won’t come to this, following the announcement of her collaboration with Swedish design giants IKEA, making the aspirational affordable and promising us an exploration of print and colour inspired by pattern cultures from around the globe. The bad news for all of us is that the collection will be two years in the making. In the meantime, here’s what to expect, according to Zandra herself. I’ll see you at the front of the queue in IKEA in 2021.

How did you furnish your London apartment?
My rainbow apartment has mainly furniture that I have personally designed – a hand-painted exotic wooden screen, low Indian-style painted chairs and an inlaid marble table. These all go with the carpet I designed and was created for an exhibition in Hanover, Germany to celebrate the millennium. A focal point is a chandelier named ‘Zandra Rhodes Crinoline Lady’ by artist and my dear friend Andrew Logan. My kitchen has much IKEA. I have given the fabulous Expedit shelves a Zandra touch by painting them intense blue, and they are a beautiful feature in my penthouse. In my four student apartments, the bedsitters have a shared sitting room, and each of these rooms is totally furnished with IKEA pieces.

What would you say to those who aren’t as brave with colour as you are when it comes to decorating their homes?
Take a look at your room, put up pictures of things you like. Cushions and bright, colourful sheets are a fabulous way to get an instant change. Colourful vases, plates and mats can give a great touch, enhancing the feel of your space. You can make a statement by just changing your dinner table or dress your room with colourful fabrics.

What can we expect from this collection?
I’ll be using a mixture of archive material and of course creating new designs together with IKEA Design Team. I constantly re-access my work. I may look to old motifs and put a new spin on them. I am a designer for all fields, not just fabrics, and therefore I am over-the-top excited to design for IKEA, helping create a contemporary, colourful collection for global homes. Mixing high-end styles with low-cost everyday objects and prints – only the sky’s the limit!

Photos: Bridie O'Sullivan and Gene Nocon