The master minimalist

The master minimalist

The master minimalist

The sudden passing away of ace fashion designer Wendell Rodricks late Wednesday night has left his friends and contemporaries in the fashion industry across the country in a state of shock and grief. He was 59. 
 A designer, activist and champion of greener spaces, Wendell will be remembered for pioneering minimalistic designs. He is often credited with pioneering the concept of ‘resort wear’ when it was not a popular idea in India. People who have known him recollect him to be a simple, warm-hearted and genuine human being.

Metrolife spoke to designers and asked them to share their memories
of Wendell. 


He nurtured young talent

Paresh Lamba, fashion designer

Wendell Rodricks was one of the pioneers of the Indian fashion industry. He is credited with bringing the concept of minimalism into fashion. When the whole world was going with embellished and ornate looks, he went the other way and created the minimalist, recycled and reused designs. His work in the field of environmental conservation, human rights and alternate lifestyle rights and culture is well-known. He was very encouraging of young talent and gave them their space and allowed them to grow. Everybody who has worked under him have carved a niche for themselves in the fashion industry. It is a huge loss for the fashion fraternity.

Fantastic eye for design

Manoviraj Khosla, designer

He was a lovely person, genuine and very touching. He was a master of minimalism and had a fantastic eye for design and a sound aesthetic sense. We have been working in the same industry from its inception and Wendell has always been a part of that journey. It is shocking to lose someone as warm as him.

He was loved for the purity of his vision

Prasad Bidapa, fashion stylist

Wendell Rodricks is one of my favourite designers and I have known him for over three
decades. We often worked together. His clothes were divine, and much in demand among the fashion circuit. Malaika Arora was his primary muse, and he dressed her to perfection. He never embellished his work, creating geometric silhouettes that moved fluidly on the body, using the finest of fabrics in the tropical colours he so loved. I loved the purity of his vision, the paring down of anything extraneous, cutting it down to the bone and leaving a perfect garment. He created a line of succession a few years ago and appointed Schulen Fernandes to take over his label. In fact, the last few collection shows I did with him were designed by Schulen and she has taken the label to new heights. I shall miss Wendell the activist as well. Constantly at war, fighting to preserve everything that is beautiful about his beloved Goa. He was awarded the Padma Shri a few years ago, and I think it was well deserved. Wendell carved a niche for himself in the Indian fashion firmament. We will miss him deeply.

He brought drama into a fashion show

Seema Malhotra, designer and owner of Shimmer

Wendell was a legend in the fashion industry and he was one of the founding fathers of Indian fashion in the ’80s. He brought in a completely simplistic style that was always about drama. His idea of minimalistic clothing stood out and made a statement. He would always manage to create drama without being overembellished. Wendell and I go way back. We worked together at Glitterati, a multi-designer store in Mumbai; it is shut now. We used to do fashion shows together. I remember him as a very warm, humble and good human being.
My favourite memory of him is associated with the design classes he used to take and I remember him coming with his whole class to our counter. He was showing them around and he pointed to us and directed his students to observe and learn how we used colours to create something unusual, different and something that one wouldn’t normally learn in a training school.

He said that’s when true designer talent comes out. We felt humbled and I admire how appreciative he was of other’s talent. There’s so much cut-throat competition and nobody appreciates one another but he was encouraging. He revolutionised the way Indian garments were cut and sewn. He was a genius in that sense.


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