By Meher Castelino
It takes a lot of creativity to stay in the fashion business for nearly three decades and keep designing collections that are not only hot sellers but are different each season with a new angle and interesting inspirations. Wendell Rodricks who started his career in 1988 has made media headlines every time he has sent a collection out on the ramp. The reason being – he designs with great thought and care keeping the man and woman who is his buyer in mind and has always aimed to present timeless garments that can be in fashion season after season.
I have a garment designed by him in 2001 and when I wear it in 2017 it looks just right for the season and the year. But Wendell is a very democratic designer. He may dress the reed thin models on the ramp but he has made his buyers who could be teens, their mothers/fathers, and even senior citizens all suddenly turn into fashionistas when they step into Wendell’s garments.
So it was not surprising that he set his eyes on the Plus size – and made the buyers of that category look like haute steppers when they came on the ramp for the aLL –Plus Size Store show “aLL Primero” collection designed by Wendell Rodricks with Schulen Fernandes during Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2017. Sharing his thoughts on how the Plus Size should be dressed Wendell Rodricks reveals a few salient points exclusively for the readers of The Luxury Chronicle
Why did you agree to present a total Plus Size collection at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2017 with aLL- The Plus Size Store?
I have always wanted the fashion industry to be size inclusive and this collaboration with aLL: The Plus Size Store takes it one step further. There are so many restrictions put on plus size fashion whether there are certain colours that flatter their shape or a fixed silhouette. With PRIMERO, we’re breaking all these myths and prevailing rules and regulations.
Tell us a little about the ‘aLL Primero’ collection – fabrics, colours etc.
The fabrics we chose were modal, which featured in moss crêpe, Lycra, cotton satin, jacquard, polyester georgette, single jersey, Lycra cotton and mercerised Giza for men’s T-shirts. Linen dobby stripes were an interesting part along with over-dyed twill Lycra that was perfect for men’s and women’s jeans.
Men’s shirts featured deconstructed plackets, mull bundies, tunics, and twill cotton. The Lycra shirts with contrast stitch detail, poly knits, along with silver speck foil prints, crushed pleated poly georgette and pewter shine stripes completed the extensive fabrics and detailing that we added to the garments.
Women’s wear had a lot of colours for fluid creations like layered tunics, asymmetric gowns, swinging dresses, capes and kaftans – some speckled with silver heart motifs which brought a fun element to the collection.
Besides bringing bright colours and white what other points did you keep in mind while designing the silhouettes for the Plus Size?
I keep the person wearing the clothes. Each figure type wants to highlight their best. These are not figure types that all fall into curvy. Some want to show their legs. Varonica who opened the show has great legs but has a carrot shape. We focused on each person’s best features
What kind of silhouettes would you recommend for women who have ample bust and hips?
Cut the body. Mainly keep it vertical. We made Devieka Bhojwani who closed the show with a great rendition of ‘Killing Me Softly’ looked half her size with clever colour blocking. Keep the silhouettes simple but effective is my mantra.
Should the waistline be camouflaged for a Plus Size Figure?
Not at all. A waist is not important. It’s the overall look that counts. In fact keep the focus on the face.
Which fabrics according to you are most flattering for Plus Sizes besides the ones you used for the show?
Keep it soft, flowing, layered.
When it comes to detailing what would you select?
Fabrics that flatter are of utmost importance. Stiff fabrics don’t work at all. I like fabrics that flatter the flow. Avoid linens and heavy fabrics.
Short Plus Size women want to look tall and slim which silhouettes would you suggest?
Short or tall doesn’t matter at all. My mother was under five feet. I realised that what she needed was elegance and style rather than a fashion silhouette. I dressed her in soft chiffons and georgettes. She wore colour splendidly. From bright yellow to hot pink, colour is a mindset. Women need to ignore myths and shatter fashion dictates.
What are the ways to conceal problem areas for a Plus Size besides colours and construction
Horizontal lines, clever colour blocking and focus on the face. The body is a shell of no importance at all. Any shape can be covered in layers of sheer brilliance.
Should Plus Size men and women follow trends or not?
Definitely not. We are talking style here. Not Fashion trends. That is for teens.
What is more important for a Plus Size Person, the right clothes or the right attitude?
Attitude is not important as much as style that you own and rule.