Leila Barton recently completed a portrait of iconic English fashion designer, Dame Zandra Rhodes. Over the years the worlds of art and fashion have often gone hand in hand, pushing boundaries together and taking their respective oeuvres to ever more creative heights. On the 20th September Clarendon Fine Art celebrated this exciting and modern relationship at a special event at their Chelsea gallery with the unveiling of the portrait, with the artist in attendance and with Dame Zandra Rhodes as guest of honour.
Leila wanted to capture Dame Zandra as a style icon, celebrating her 50th year at the forefront of British fashion. But she also wanted to capture her at home in her eclectic, dreamy Bermondsey penthouse.
To do this, Leila chose to paint Dame Zandra out on her garden terrace, a place Rhodes clearly loves, and like the penthouse interior, is filled with quirky collectibles, sculptures and plants, and painted in bright rainbow colours. The plants were also an important pictorial element to Leila, given the inspiration Rhodes draws from them for her textile prints.
Leila wanted to capture Rhodes’ sense of fun and mischief, painting her in a relaxed, confident pose. Leila’s bright, bold paint palette is a perfect match for a portrait of Dame Zandra, playing out in full technicolour across the canvas to portray the fashion icon’s signature pink bob, dramatic make-up, jewellery by Zandra’s great friend, the sculptor and designer, Andrew Logan, and her clothes that celebrate the beauty of colour and pattern.