Fashion designer Wendell Rodricks ((E Photo: Dilip Kagda)
Ace fashion designer Wendell Rodricks passed away at the age of 59, at his home in Goa on February 12, 2020. The sudden news of his death came as a shock to one and all, especially members of the fashion fraternity and Bollywood.
Celebrities, from Anushka Sharma to Malaika Arora, later took to social media to remember their fond moments with the much-loved and respected designer and express their grief.
"Woke up in NZ to the sad news of Wendell Rodricks having passed away in his sleep. He was one of the most iconic & original designers in fashion & a champion for LGBT rights. He had given me an opportunity to close his fashion week show in Mumbai after spotting me in Bangalore at a fashion show and was gracious, kind & encouraging. He was one of the reasons I had the courage to move to Mumbai from Bangalore to pursue modelling when I was just 18 years old . RIP Wendell. My love and prayers for Jerome and the rest of his family and friends," Anushka wrote in an Instagram post.
Recalling all the "beautiful memories", Malaika wrote, "A master couturier and his muse...RIP our dearest @wendellrodricks .... I first sat and cried, and then I sat alone and smiled and laughed, just thinking of all the beautiful beautiful memories and moments we shared."
Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur wrote on Twitter, "Goodbye gentle soul. Amazing designer. Friend. Had so much more to do. Died in the place he loved. A home he created for himself and his partner #WendellRodricks."
Goodbye gentle soul. Amazing designer. Friend. Had so much more to do. Died in the place he loved. A home he created for himself and his partner #WendellRodricks
— Shekhar Kapur (@shekharkapur) February 12, 2020
Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh wrote, "Shocked to hear about the demise of #WendellRodricks Condolences to his family and friends, may his soul rest in peace."
Shocked to hear about the demise of #WendellRodricks Condolences to his family and friends, may his soul rest in peace.
— yuvraj singh (@YUVSTRONG12) February 12, 2020
Diana Penty shared how the designer showed immense belief in her. She said, "My dearest Wendell, I can't believe you are no longer with us. Indian fashion has just lost a pioneer, a visionary and a legend. You were the force that introduced me to the world of fashion over 10 years ago... believing in me more than I did in myself. I will never forget those times. Will miss you dearly. RIP in paradise."
Actor Arjun Rampal spoke about what a "beautiful human" and "talented designer" Rodricks was. "This is such sad sad news, a beautiful human and such a talented designer, the fashion industry and the world has lost today. It was such joy whenever I met him. His smile always made me smile...you will be missed Wendell. #ripwendellrodricks," he wrote on Instagram.
Jacqueline Fernandez also took to Twitter to share her grief. "Your demise leaves a void in the fashion fraternity that can never be replaced. May you RIP #WendellRodricks. You will be missed," she said.
Your demise leaves a void in the fashion fraternity that can never be replaced. May you RIP #WendellRodricks. You will be missed.
— Jacqueline Fernandez (@Asli_Jacqueline) February 12, 2020
VJ Anusha Dandekar said, "I'm so glad to have known you, met you, worn you, interviewed you and hugged you. Your creations were as beautiful as you. You are an Angel, so I guess it was your time to be with your kind. Stay magical Wendell. RIP."
Chef and TV host Maria Goretti shared a heartfelt note on Instagram. "My dearest Wendell...The angels will be all dressed up fashionably today...Heaven is going to have a lot of song and dance...You will forever be remembered, loved and missed... P.S. We Catholics who sang a lot, I will always love you Wendell," she wrote.
Evelyn Sharma expressed, "You believed in me before I did... you pushed me to become who I was meant to be...I loved being the muse of one of the greatest minds in fashion...your muse! You are very loved @wendellrodricks and we will always keep you in a special place in our hearts...Thank you for your magic, your laughter, and for always having my back. Rest now, my dear friend...Sending my love and prayers to Jerome and your family. RIP #wendellrodricks"
Actor Rahul Khanna remembered the designer's "passion for protecting the environment". "A trip to Goa felt incomplete without visiting #WendellRodricks. Such style & hospitality! I'll never forget the exquisite meals at his homes, sunset cocktails on his boat, his passion for protecting the environment & his devotion to his dogs. Wishing
@jeromegoa strength & peace," he wrote on Twitter.
A trip to Goa felt incomplete without visiting #WendellRodricks. Such style & hospitality! I'll never forget the exquisite meals at his homes, sunset cocktails on his boat, his passion for protecting the environment & his devotion to his dogs. Wishing @jeromegoa strength & peace.
— Rahul Khanna (@R_Khanna) February 12, 2020
Author Shobhaa De wrote, "Farewell! Always true to your heart. The baton was passed on...The label lives! What a beautiful legacy..."
— Shobhaa De (@DeShobhaa) February 12, 2020
Rodricks, who launched his label in 1989, was a fellow design member of the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI).
FDCI is deeply disheartened with the sudden and untimely demise of one of the country’s iconic designer, Wendell Rodricks.
The fashion fraternity lost a legend today.
Wendell, we will miss you. pic.twitter.com/AFFUVu9UcD
— FDCI (@fdciofficial) February 12, 2020
Rodricks played a crucial role in conceptualising the first Lakme India Fashion Week in 2000. In 2014, he was honoured with the Padma Shri award for his contributions. He used his ingenious knowledge of fashion to promote sustainability. He was also a LGBTQ rights activist.