Designer Dame Zandra Rhodes, 77, chats 50 years in fashion and Princess Diana

It will usually go off around 5am when I’m at my house in California, and if I’m at my home in south London it will be more like 6.30am.

I spend the majority of my time in the States, but having my fashion studio in the UK means I have to fly back and forth a lot.

I jump straight in the shower, or if I’m feeling enthusiastic I’ll get in my Jacuzzi and do a few stretches or go to an early Pilates class.

You’ll never see me without make-up. One should always look presentable, even if you don’t feel like it.

Every morning, before I Skype my team at the London office, I’ll put on thick eyeliner, blue eyeshadow, eyebrows and blush. I’ll also make sure I’ve got at least a few pieces of statement jewellery on display.

Being comfy is key. I’m not actually very imaginative with my outfits during the week, believe it or not.

I’ll usually throw on a wonderful pink printed tracksuit – to match my hair – with a leather work belt full of pens and scissors, before heading into my fashion studio at around 9am. Later, when I go out on appointments, I’ll change into the real Zandra Rhodes, which could involve any number of things.

Lunchtime puts me in a bad mood. I hate that it disturbs my train of thought and takes me away from designing throughout the day – I wish we didn’t have to bother at all!

When I do get peckish, usually around 1pm, I’ll have a home-made soup that I’ve brought with me.

For the rest of the afternoon I’ll be working on either my latest collection, collaborations with other brands, my book, or all three.

It frightens me that I manage to juggle it all, though it does get a little wearing. I try to finish up and head home about 7pm.

Fashion is my baby. I’m so lucky that after 50 years of designing clothes, I continue to find every little bit of it so invigorating.

I have a studio of people who still believe in me and respect my work, and recently I’ve been reminiscing about some of my most famous designs, like the pale pink off-the-shoulder gown Princess Diana wore in 1986, or pieces for Debbie Harry and Diana Ross.

I’m very grateful for it all.

I throw at least one dinner party every weekend. I absolutely love cooking, and I’ll always get at least 10 or 15 of my friends round for a catch-up over food and wine.

They’re mostly artists so we have plenty to talk about, and I treasure hearing what everyone is up to.

After that I’m so exhausted I’ll head straight to bed around midnight – and I still find myself falling asleep throughout the day!

  • Dame Zandra Rhodes stars in Kurt Geiger’s Autumn/Winter ’18 Characterful Style campaign.

Princess Diana arrives at St Paul's Cathedral in her incredible wedding dress for marriage to Prince Charles on 29 July 1981

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