Zandra Rhodes Field Of Lilies Dresses

“I love beautiful flower-A field of lilies —a lily —grass —lots and lots of beautiful lilies— lilies and yet more lilies.” 

Field of lilies vintage 1973 dress

Zandra Rhodes considers the field of lilies print to be especially important to her work because it was while designing this textile that she discovered how to reverse the pattern of a silkscreen and produce a mirror image of the print. This gave her the ability to produce interesting symmetrical patterns which she would use in some of her most famous future prints including lace mountain and scribble turnaround. 

A piece of dress fabric featuring the field of lilies screen-print circa 1974-currently in the V&A Museum archives.

Zandra recalls that ”The ‘field of lily’ design is inspired by a trip to Japan. Issey Miyake had seen some of my clothes, so he organized for me to do a dress show and I was given a great big bunch of lilies by a fabulous Japanese flower arranger; I remember sitting in the corner sketching them out to be worked into this print.”

Field of lilies dresses were also the first time Zandra began to apply beadwork to her pieces which would become a signature in her designs. They are one of Zandra’s most well documented pieces and examples are held in museums and private collections worldwide.

The field of lilies dresses were made with 100% silk-chiffon and featured long kimono sleeves, a deep v neck and a ruched elastic waist band accented with Zandra’s trademark satin sash in a contrasting or complementary color. The flowing handprinted dresses were embellished with sequins, Swarovski crystals or faux-pearls (varying per style). 

To this day Field of Lilly dresses are Zandra Rhodes’ best selling style. Rhodes recently reissued this dress for in a wide variety of colors for Matches Fashion’s 30th anniversary, renamed “The Summer Collection” in honor of Donna Summer who famously wore a white field of lilies dress in her “Once Upon A Time” album key art in 1977.