Wendell Rodricks, who returns to Bollywood after 11 years with Onir’s Shab, talks about Indian fashion sensibilities and his future plans
Q. You are making a comeback to Bollywood as a fashion designer after 11 years with Onir’s forthcoming movie Shab. What kind of outfits have you planned for the lead character? What was your inspiration?
A. Honestly, I was not a part of Hindi cinema at any stage. I did cameos in Boom and Fashion and designed for Bipasha Basu in Jism. Onir is a good friend and I accepted his offer as the movie is set in the fashion world, which I can identify with very well. As for the clothes that I am going to design, I want it to be a surprise. But the lead character (Ashish Bisht) is fashionable in the film, so expect him to be very sleek, stylish and sexy.
Wendell Rodricks with actor Deepika Padukone
Q. In an earlier interview, you said that you didn’t identify with the fashion sensibilities of Bollywood and hence, decided to stay away. What fashion sensibilities were you referring to?
A. I don’t want to categorise fashion as good or bad. Every style is valid and that’s the beauty of India. I think outfits in Hindi cinema usually constitute Indian clothes such as lehengas and sarees, and I don’t design those. I do fusion wear. Also, I didn’t want to get involved in movies, as they take up too much time. I admire my contemporaries such as Neeta Lulla, Manish Malhotra and Vikram Phadnis as they are doing so well and have patience. In my mind, when I accepted Onir’s offer, I put myself in the role of a costumier for a week. I want to be true to character and approach the role like I would have done in Hollywood.
Q. In another interview, you had also termed Bollywood as ‘chaotic’. How do you see yourself fitting into the scheme of things then?
A. I term it as chaotic because I have a different way of working. I do not identify with sitting on a film set endlessly. I’m low on patience but very particular about peoples’ time and talent. Ironically, although I trained in Los Angeles and learnt from the person who designed for Marilyn Monroe and Faye Dunaway, I know I’m qualified to do Hindi cinema. I respect cinema as an art. Sometimes, I watch a movie 10 times over to understand the colour and silhouette of a costume.
Q. What are you currently working on?
A. We are doing a show in Delhi in two weeks for the Goa Tourism Ministry promoting the city as a high-end wedding destination. At the same time, I’m working on my collection for Wills India Fashion Week, which is slated for October. I’ll showcase my Spring Summer 2015 line. But for now, I am off on a dream vacation and can only tell you that I will be taking inspiration and filling my sketchbook with more fashionable dreams.