The International Writers
Fashion in Goa
Vamps - a celebration of the mysterious
Marianne de Nazareth
Rodricks has put the tiny Indian state of Goa firmly on the fashion
map. Residing in the pretty village of Colvale in Goa, designer
Wendell Rodricks enjoys a huge following in the main stream of
the fashion industry creating new looks each season which inspire
and influence Indian fashion. Establishing his own label in 1990
he moved to his ancestral village in Goa in 1993, creating memorable
collections each season inspired by many emotions: Tibetan Monasteries,
Tribal symbols of Shiva and Vishnu, the Harem at Istanbul, Tattoos
of the Lambadi tribe among others.
Photo: Title : Les Vamps based
on occult tradition
The Wendell Rodricks
signature style blends ancient Indian geometry with a relaxed Goan attitude.
Using natural Indian fabrics, cut in a linear line, the silhouette is
sheer, layered, draped and fluid. Emphasis is on concrete themes, experimental
colour combinations, exotic fibre weaves, structural simplicity based
on geometric Indian shapes and hand-painted details. "My garments
are worn by a growing clientele from all walks of life that share a
similar minimal, spiritual aesthetic," says Wendell about his clothes.
His Spring Summer 2007 collection Les Vamps is already unveiled
and is a paean to his Goan heritage. Like the spirits and exorcists
who are almost always beautiful women, the clothes in vapourous white,
midnight black, dusk gray and blood red are a tribute to Goas
other world. Emerging from dark Goan manors, swooping on bat wings,
gliding over fields and floating on sea waves, Les Vamps
is about beauty, mystery, secrets and fear. And above all fashion for
the woman of today who can take on many emotions : switching from coy
innocence to fierce vamp with equal ease. Like the haunting beauty of
Goas ghosts, spirits and vampires.
Wendells collection tells a story and he explains, "This
is the invisible, dark Goa no one knows about. Unless you live in villages,
which over time, bleed their stories. Whispers on the wind disclose
dark family secrets of ghosts haunting the shimer (boundary lines between
villages). Where devnsars or mischievous spirits steal your feni or
cigarettes as they clear the way for the palkhi, chariot of the Gods.
Behind the palkhi, arrive the terrible demons (shaitans). On lonely
hillsides, one sees agtti (burning fires at night) that light the hills.
The next morning, there are no traces of embers or burnt leaves. What
are these fires and what was burning ?" asks Rodricks.
"The various crosses on hills are places where accidents or malevolent
spirits reside. They are constantly appeased with offerings and promise.
An angon, or pact is made between deity and the villagers. Some pacts
are demanding and unreasonable. If St. Anthony does not fulfill a prayer
request, his statue is punished to face the wall or worse,
lowered into a well
until the prayer is granted. When
this happens a large feast is celebrated. Hindus offer sur vont
(toddy offering) to Marus (evil spirit) residing in the forest. Fishermen
regard drowning victims as offerings to the sea or river goddess for
a bountiful catch, making no attempt to save the drowning person. Villagers
constantly recount how a rakhondar or Gauv Purush (the good village
spirit) will lead lost people to their homes or village boundaries at
night. The Gaunv Purush then disappears in the mist. People possessed
by spirits (bhar) are regularly taken to gaadis (among Hindus), pirs
(for muslims) or dishtikars (for Catholics) who exorcise demons and
recommend healings. Infants with ailments as simple as common cold are
stripped, prayed over with dry red chillies and salt, which are thrown
with a crackling sound into the home fire, to cure or remove evil eye,"
"Goas supernatural world is deeply ingrained in the psyche
of simple villagers, urban intellectuals and sometimes encountered
by tourists. A result of a pagan past over many thousands of years,
blending myth, religion and races, Goans have learnt to live with the
spirit world. They know it exists, never ridicule its presence
and always strive to appease them. Over centuries, slaves from Africa,
Arab merchants, Greek shipmen and Far Eastern shamans have added to
Goas occult tradition," says Wendell explaining the muse
behind his collection.
Rodricks is the first Indian designer invited to display his garments
at the worlds largest garment fair in the world at IGEDO, Dusseldorf.
The designer has been actively involved in all areas of fashion; lecturing
on World Costume History at SNDT University in Mumbai, member of the
Industry Advisory Board of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
among others. He is presently writing a book based on his research,
to document Goas clothing tradition. He retails at the countrys
best stores including the celebrated Wendell Rodricks Design Space in
© Marianne de Nazareth
Ramp photos from Wendell Rodricks Lakme Fashion Week Spring Summer 2007
held on 1st November 2006 at NCPA, Mumbai.
LES VAMPSEMOTION : COLOURS :
Mysterious Beauty Vapourous White
Sheer Apparations Midnight Black
Vampire Time Dusk Grey
Haunting Memory Blood Red
Woven Cotton Silk Crepe/Charmeuse/Chiffon
Cool Linen Tulle
Wispy Chenille Pleated organza
Wool Crepe Metallic lycra
Crushed Silk Woven Damask
Vapourous and Voluminous
Fluid and Flowing
Structural Forms and Undulations
1980s layering in 2007 looks
INNOVATIONS IN COUTURE :
Ripped Satin Inserts
Multiple Net Pleating
Angel wings and Bat wings
Circular drapes based on flight
Draped pleat tunics
Looped Sari Paloo
Elite, Model Management, India for the beautiful vamps on ramp
Liberty shoes for footwear
DJ Troy, Goa for music recording.
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