Wendell Rodricks, one of the nation’s most acclaimed fashion designers, had yet another extraordinary show at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2016 at the St Regis hotel, Mumbai. While in the last season, Rodricks mesmerized people with his magical collection ‘Indica Emporia’ which celebrated Indian Textiles Heritage, this time his focus was on ‘The Indian Women’s Standard Size Chart’ addressing the lack of a uniform sizing standard in India.
The collection ‘Schulen Fernandes for Wendell Rodricks’ was inspired by the trapezoid which falls perfectly on Indian women of all sizes who tend to have a torso smaller than the hip. And the models on the ramp were women from different backgrounds such as a leukaemia survivor teenager, an ex Miss India, two grey-haired seniors, college juniors, a fashion choreographer, a bisexual jewellery designer amongst others.
We had a quick chit-chat with Rodricks to know about this unique concept and his future plans:
TT: What made you take the decision of bidding goodbye?
Wendell: Who said anything about goodbye or retirement! Schulen Fernandes is taking over designing for my label. I have just handed over to her the Wendell Rodricks label as I have other design projects to do henceforth
TT: Why did you choose Schulen Fernandes?
Wendell: Schulen Fernandes was my student and worked for me for four years as soon as she passed out from college. She has totally understood my philosophy and for three seasons now she has been doing the collections with me. This was a plan. That when she could do a collection in her own, I would phase out the label’s design collection to her. This season she did almost 95% of the Trapezoid collection and I felt the time ripe to move on to other design projects under my label.
TT: We saw women from different age-groups and walks of life, tell us more about this idea.
Wendell: The idea was to address the Size issue in India. Since the inception of Lakme India Fashion Week in 2000, there have many ramp strides in the industry at many levels.
After fifteen years of progressive fashion, it is time to finally put one aspect of the industry in place. The Indian Women’s Standard Size Chart. Floundering between the size charts of other countries has created confusion among designers, buyers, retailers, fashion students and the industry at large. One brand’s ‘Small’ is another’s ‘Medium’ or even ‘Large’. It is time this issue is finally addressed.
Lakme Fashion Week 2016 is proud to collaborate with pioneering designer Wendell Rodricks who has been working on creating a Standard Indian Women’s Size chart since 1988. Considering the various body types in India, this chart is an average body size that is challenged only by height. However this has also been addressed. The figures stated are body measurements and the industry is encouraged to add seam allowances depending on the style and fit desired. Lakme Fashion Week and Wendell Rodricks encourage all feedback on the chart
TT: Tell us about this line and what can consumers look forward to.
Wendell: The Trapezoid shape has been in use since ancient times. The Incas and Egyptians used it for archways, doors and windows. Wider at the base with a parallel narrow top and two lateral incline sides reaching the summit. Indian temples also used this geometric form but in a profusely decorative form for the famed gopurams; endowed with Gods and animals. Indians also used the trapezoid for geometry, astronomy, mathematics and algebra calculations.
Schulen Fernandes for Wendell Rodricks, explores the trapezoid in a fashion collection that celebrates this ancient form rarely applied to fashion. Using the form as is and in innovative isosceles and parallelogram styles, garments take shape based on the trapezoid’s various possibilities in silhouette and style details.
The layered looks use sheer X-Ray effects to advantage, blending an ultra feminine palette of pastels. Trapezoid shapes morph onto pin tucks, sewn dotted lines and pattern pieces that create a unique newness on the Indian female form. This shape is perfect for all Indian sizes who tend to have a torso smaller than the hip. In a vast fabric array that uses linen, cotton, light crepes, georgette, paper silk, jacquard and damask, Trapezoid uses twelve weaves. It is the custom made fabrics at the core of the collection that are most exciting. Natural Bemberg weave which is natural viscose that feels like silk, striped Chanderi striped silk cotton, Kerala custom weave cottons, natural dyed Bengal cotton weaves, Malkha cotton and Eco fabric dyed with flowers from the Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai.
The Trapezoid collection by Schulen Fernandes for Wendell Rodricks also addresses the lack of a uniform sizing standard in India. It pushes the envelope to make clothes that are at times unisize, unisex and unique for all Indian women. The collection is age neutral, proving that pastels are not for a blushing female child, teenager or ladies of vintage elegance. Trapezoid embraces every India woman with its delicious colour and unique pattern innovations.
TT: You’re writing books and are doing museum related work. Would you like to share more on this?
Wendell: My next book will be released by the year end, I start my Moda Goa Museum work in January 2017. We hope to complete the museum and open it end 2018.
All photos by Lakme Fashion Week