For Wendell Rodricks, one white collection led to another. After seeing his all-white Goa Spa collection in 2007, Maureen Wadia, wife of Bombay Dyeing chairman Nusli Wadia approached the fashion designer, hoping that his expertise in successfully creating and, more importantly, selling white ensembles in a country like India would rub off on the textile company.
White wash: Rodricks’ collections were inspired by nature and the Taj.
“She said they have always had a problem marketing whites in India, as people think it is difficult to maintain. Internationally, white is one of the most popular colours for bed linen. And she felt that as her customers were well travelled and increasingly international in their style of living, it would be a good time to create a collection together,” says Rodricks.
The result is Wendell Whites, a range of bed and bath linen which recently hit Bombay Dyeing stores. Rodricks says he had no plans of expanding his design offerings to include home decor before Wadia approached him. “A fashion designer’s obvious association with clothing extends to home decor products, perfume, jewellery and accessories, and they are all natural progressions. But it’s also about what business opportunities open up,” he says.
The designer, by his own admission, wasn’t the easiest person to work with. “They met all my demands. I wasn’t going to put out anything that I wouldn’t put on my own bed. I wanted the fabric to be a certain quality, but like my clothes, I wanted it to feel soft and luxurious.”
Maybe that’s because Bombay Dyeing also has previous experience with fashion designers creating bed linen. Since 2006, Kolkata-based Sabyasachi Mukherjee has been collaborating with the company on the Sabyasachi Signature Line, using his trademark earthy colour palette.
The comforters, cushions and sheets of the Wendell Whites line has Rodricks’ clean and minimalist, yet luxurious sensibility. “They are not ordinary white chaddars,” says Rodricks of the two lines — Fern Forest and Luxurie.
The former, the more economical line, has touches of pastel shades such as sage, fern green and pink on a white canvas, and, as the name suggests, is nature-inspired. For Luxurie, created from high-quality, ivory-coloured cotton with a threadcount of 400, cotton-silk and jacquard, Rodricks took inspiration from the Taj Mahal. “I’ve taken inspiration from four aspects of the monument. The brick work, the floral borders along the archways, the marble carvings and the jali-work or pierced marble screens,” says Rodricks. Next up will be whites with metallic prints and accents for the festive season.
He’s all mock outrage when asked if his affinity for the colour restricts him. “My name is synonymous with white. I love it, I’ve earned it and you can’t take my crown away and give it to anyone else!”
Available at leading Bombay Dyeing stores in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and at retail outlets across the country. The Fern Forest bed linen collection starts at Rs1,899; the Luxurie bed linen collection at Rs3,999. The bath linen for both lines starts at Rs349.