Photo Courtesy- Lakme Fashion Week
Designer Wendell Rodricks‘ INDICA EMPORIA collection celebrating Indian Textiles Heritage 2016 closed Indian Textile Day at Lakmé Fashion Week, Summer Resort 2016, in spectacular style on Day 2 March 31.
Guests entering the Main Show Area at the St Regis hotel, Mumbai, were stunned at the sight that greeted them. The ramp was totally swept away along with the seating. The air was fragrant with roses, jasmines and marigolds that lined the ramp. The public watched in silence, referring to the collection notes handed out pre-show, at the visual beauty before them. Twenty models were draped in hand weaved bright silks that celebrated twenty iconic Indian garment adaptations. Never before in the history of Indian Fashion Weeks has this been done. Transforming the vast main show space into a Museum setting was a designer coup. White drapes trailed overhead from ceiling to floor while the soaring voices of the Shillong Chamber Choir seduced fashionistas with their fusion musical repertoire of Hindustani and Western classic hits.
Standing on white platforms and against an LED panel of antique pattern pieces in sepia tones, twenty models preened before the lines thronging the MSA at Lakme Fashion Week. Among the celebrities attending were actresses Tisca Chopra, Sonali Kulkarni, Arshad Warsi with wife Maria Goretti, Dolly Thakore, supermodel Elena Fernandes among others. The fashion Press were present in full force.
Styled by Grazia magazine’s Fashion Editor Ekta Rajani, the models looked like a tribal group that came in from a desert. Slicked, oil black eyes, tattoo dots on faces and pierced nose rings, parched lips and shimmery peacock blue nail colour (makeup by Fat Mu) ; distressed hair (by Tigi), encircled hair knots with what looked like jasmine gajras but on closer inspection were seashells woven into the hair. This detail lent to the Resort look of the collection.
Finally, the clothes referencing antique Indian clothing icons, the designer spun every design rule on its creative head. Ghagras became capes, pyjamas into off shoulder blouses, dhotis morphed into saris, cholis hit the floor, capes skimmed over kurtas, saris hand woven in bright colours such as fuschia, ivory, pomegranate, indigo, jamun purple, peacock blues and greens, turquoise, haldi yellow, saffron gold. Using khadi cotton, silk tussar, mugha, noile, dupioni and organza, the effect was Indian yet international, minimal yet extravagant, resort yet urban.
Says the Goan designer “I re-invented what was expected of me with this collection. Whites gave way to colour, cotton and linen to silk and Khadi. I stayed far away from Banares silks and gold thread weaves to stay from an opulent look. What has been most satisfying is to use hand woven silks to optimum effect. My name may be on the collection and label but truly it is to the art of the cotton growers and silk cultivators, the dyers who use inventive alchemy and weavers who carry forward a grand legacy that are the real stars of Indica Emporia. This collection will always be special in my career. I owe thanks to Lakme and IMG Reliance for encouraging and collaborating with me for this memorable collection. Also to Ekta Rajani for the styling and Schulen Fernandes who designed many garments and will one day soon take over my mantle and studio as Design Head”.
The vast emporium of India, the country’s legacy of ancient times, came centre stage to the contemporary India of 2016 with this riveting collection by Wendell Rodricks.
Undoubtedly, the Wendell Rodricks Indica Emporia collection was a fitting finale to India Textile Day 2016 and a tribute to India from a Padma Shree awardee designer who pioneered minimalism, resort and eco-friendly garments. With this collection at Lakmé Fashion Week, Wendell Rodricks seals his reputation for creating an intellectual narrative to take Indian textiles forward to the worldwide celebration.