After the much-hyped launch of Moda Goa — by Rekha — at the beginning of the year, fashion designer Wendell Rodricks is ready with his second book, The Green Room. As he gets set for a launch on August 7 at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai, t2 caught up with Goa’s most famous resident on email.
When did the idea of writing this memoir germinate?
Goa Writers group had a challenge to write a 60,000-word book over two months. I was the only one who met the challenge. I wrote for a further two months and sent the 240,000-word manuscript to Mita Kapur, my agent. She loved it and sent it to the publishers. Eventually, Raintree published the book.
The buzz is that the book is tell-all. Just how telling will it be?
It tells a lot about me and what I saw in fashion. It is most definitely not a tell-all about others who did not touch my life. I could have stirred up a storm but I am not sensationalist as a person.
It must have been very difficult to pick out portions of your life and career. How did you sieve and sift?
Frankly, it was not difficult. I meticulously kept agenda and albums for over 30 years. I used those for reference and resorted to my formidable memory for details. I have a photographic memory and everything is as clear as day in my mind. When I showed sections of the manuscript to my family, they were shocked how I recalled small details like the designs and colours of clothes! I guess from a young age, I was already observing people... like I do today in fashion.
What’s the best feedback you got for your first book Moda Goa?
The best feedback was also an insult. A few people asked me if I actually wrote the book or if it was ghost-written!
Is a third book in the pipeline?
Surely. Why just third? Many more will follow! But hey, will all these be non-fiction? Ironically, as a designer, I can dream up clothes. But when it comes to writing, I cannot put together a fiction story.
Which international designer’s memoirs would you like to read? And why?
I have read them all. I am an avid reader and must be having the largest fashion library in India. Of these, Edmonde Charles-Roux’s book on Coco Chanel is the most inspiring. She came from nothing and saw the glory. Quite like myself. Though I do not want to see the glory she saw. I am content to live in Goa, instead of moving to Paris and being overly ambitious.
Which Indian designer’s memoirs would you like to read?
Hemant Trevedi, James Ferreira and Rohit Khosla. They were pioneers and I would like to know more about their early years.