IN APRIL Padma Shri awardee and Goa-based designer Wendell Rodricks presented “Indica Emporia”, taking joint credit with his protégé Schulen Fernandes, who as the designer described, “designed many garments and will one day take over my mantle and studio as Design Head”. Well, that day came sooner than fashion watchers expected. On Wednesday evening, at the end of the label’s showcase of “Trapezoid”, Rodricks and Fernandes took a curtain call together and in a symbolic move, the mentor not only doffed his pink hat at his understudy, but placed it on her head, thereby signifying the passing on of the baton.
In a fledgling fashion industry, where the most established labels are not more than three to four decades old, Rodricks’ 27 years have been marked by many firsts. This was definitely one of them as Rodricks announced his intentions to step away from his fashion label and instead train his creativity towards writing and giving shape to his dream — the Moda Goa Museum that he is instituting at his 450-year-old home in Colvale. Fernandes will now helm the Wendell Rodricks label, carrying on his legacy and keeping the dream alive and kicking.
And what a kick-start “Trapezoid” was to the new chapter, as Fernandes took the master’s minimalist canvas, his technical wizardry, penchant for geometrics, pastels and layering and kicked them into high gear. There was a pronounced pep and youthful energy to the presentation as structured pintucks and sporty stripes met unfinished hems, flirty palazzos and on-point accessories. Fernandes fashioned flyaway georgettes and light crepes with crisp Kerala, Bengal and Malkha cottons, linens and silks. Paying tribute to Rodricks’ eco-conscious sensibilities was the usage of natural Bemberg viscose, pomegranate-dyed silk and muls dyed with flowers from the Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai. And while Fernandes may have rather large shoes to fill, it was amply clear that she’s learnt well under the maestro and is up for the challenge.
The show also marked another first, the introduction of Rodricks’ Indian Women’s Standard Sizing Chart, the result of years of research and observation. While buyers, designers and manufacturers have, for years, bemoaned how international European and American sizes don’t work for Indian body types, with this chart, Rodricks’ hopes will be adopted by the domestic industry and go a long way in streamlining sizing issues. And to mark this innovation, beautiful women of all shapes and sizes walked the ramp, proving that age and vital statistics are, after all, just numbers.
Bollywood favourite Manish Malhotra, who has often confessed that he hopes to direct a movie some day and has indulged in a sort of short film direction for his campaigns, has clearly extended his craft from glam clothes to fantastical settings. After the fairy tale floral bower he created at a furniture store mid-town last year for “The Blue Runway”, the surreal “chairs in the air” presentation for “The Gentlemen’s Club” and the origami paper birds and pinwheels fiesta at Mehboob Studio for Summer/Resort 2016, Malhotra picked a courtyard with dancing fountains at the ITC Grand Central, Mumbai, for his latest ramp outing. The bridal finery on display tread an all-too-familiar path — trademark resham threadwork, a profusion of floral hand embroideries and a smattering of sequins over saris, lehengas, backless gowns, off-shoulder blouses and long tunics — an assembly of pretty ensembles that have amassed Malhotra serious lucre and fan following. And even as showstoppers Shraddha Kapoor and Sushant Singh Rajput provided star power, it was the magical setting that had us entranced. Make that movie already, we say!
It was only last season that Karishma Shahani Khan of the label Ka-Sha walked the ramp with her four-month-old son Zayn. On Wednesday evening too, she took her curtain call not just with the toddler strapped to her in a custom-made baby carrier, but also accompanied by two friends, who carried their respective babies in slings, all wearing the trademark tie and dye Ka-Sha touch. “I really like the idea of a mother carrying her baby and keeping it close. These slings are already available on their website and we’re trying to see if we can put them in stores,”
Menswear had a great opening day at LFW, as many of the young labels presented men’s fashion that played with volume control, structured silhouettes and redefined classics. Ujjawal Dubey of Antar Agni presented an all-black line of his asymmetric signature style with relief coming in the form of metallic linear highlights — piping lapels, criss-crossing necklines, running across stoles. Models, too, walked a straight course, barely avoiding each other, like almost-intersecting lines. From the GenNext pool Vaibhav Singh presented interestingly tailored bomber jackets and drop crotch pants with leather patches, trench coats with cuffed pants and colour blocked layered kurtas. Combat mode continued with debutant Abhishek Paatni’s “WarfareXStreetfare”, where outerwear drew inspiration from bulletproof jackets, joggers and fitted cargoes saw patches and pleat detailing. And while Gaurav Khanijo presented a more festive look with bright colours, handlooms and dragonfly motifs, there was no ignoring his detailed red bomber jacket covering a voluminous kurta.