Songs of the Orient

It's easy to take Wendell Rodricks out of Goa, but it's almost impossible to get the beach state out of its homegrown designer. For this season, Rodricks takes off on a nautical journey from Goa to Shanghai via the Malacca Strait and Macao.

True to his signature, Rodricks presented fluid and body-lengthening silhouettes in the shapes of tunics, lungi trousers, capes and ruffled boleros on Day 1 of the Wills India Fashion Week (WIFW). He opened with a silver-spangled bikini top and a slit skirt, cleverly monikered a new-age kashti, the local drape. The Goan pano bhaju, on which Rodricks has especially written a book, came out in contemporary avatars like a short sleeve. His favourite cuts — the circle and the bias — were omnipresent. The colours were that of an early-morning sea, inspired by a basket of pastel eggs he saw at a market and shared a photograph of.

Most of the show seemed to be filled with things you had seen before. Much of this is because the designer shows too often. But it is also because his signature is so strong, it's hard for him to steer away from his specialties. Repetition is a double-edged sword.

When you see a male model come out in a powder-blue bandhgala jacket with a white silk waistcoat, white linen trousers and a white georgette lungi draped over it, you realise how hard it is to be simple and spectacular at the same time. And then you thank the lord that some things never change.

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