Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Green Room

The Green Room by Wendell Rodricks has been in the news and on the bookshelves for a while now. Wendell whom I've previously spoken about on my blog in the BPFT posts is a fashion designer and one of India's top 10 if I must say. However very few people are aware that he is also a writer.

I have learnt that fashion and beauty can attract the wrong kind of attention.
Title: The Green Room
Author: Wendell Rodricks

Publisher: Rain Tree
Pages: 356
Price: Rs 595

I've had my eye on The Green Room for a while and when it went up on Blogadda, I knew I had to review it because I've been following Wendell for a while now, and what better way to know anyone than to read their autobiography? Now the common thing with autobiographies is the fact that they become too narcissistic and ego inflammatory, and that is one reason I stay away from them as far as possible. But I had to take a chance with this one. The cover has Malaika Arora Khan in the famous 'Mussel top' and that of course is very eye catching in itself as if the title isn't doing enough already.

Wendell's style of writing from the beginning right till the end is detailed and one can see that like his designs on the ramp, to his writing on paper, he has a knack for details. Be it experiences, events or people, everything is given to you clear cut and entirely transparent. His simplistic, subtle way of writing about his family and his journey will definitely make you smile. I was expecting something more glamourous, behind the scene drama and the usual; but was more than happy to see that Wendell has not given in to the stereotype. In fact I think he comes across as a person who'd prefer to relax at a beach in Goa rather than go on a cruise party.
There would always be people with less or more, I figured, and there is no point in comparison. Even now, I am always content and hold to the belief that the best things in life are free. The stars in the sky, the monsoon rain, the pleasures of a walk on the beach 
The book as I progressed became more like Wendell's diary. It was personal, so honest and I could imagine him saying those things aloud. He repeatedly spoke of his amazing family, told us the story of the past, his town Colvale, a chawl-esque house at Mumbai, his friends in the industries, confidantes, inspiration and the learning process of course. From Muscat, to fashion school. His lover Jerome, to his first fashion show. He talks about his debut line: Issey Miyake, to the amazingly innovative Visionnaire collection. If you want to know Wendell, this is definitely your book.

Well there's definitely a lot of information for one to digest in here, but I started and was definitely not able to put the book down till I finished. Wendell's well learned-ness, humour, unique perspectives and natural storytelling capacities are things you can grasp easily as you read through the book. The book as I said before gives you extensive details, it not only tells you how anyone can become someone if they choose to be true to themselves, but also shows us Wendell's chronicles in life, his journey and the path he took. The people who influenced his decisions, the reasons he did what he did, the inspirations behind his collection and some super humourous commentary from time to time.

Here's his take on fashion weeks:
Fashion weeks are heavy on entertainment. Designers become friends, bitch each other out, sleep with trails of male models… I’m mystified by designers who begin affairs with their compatriots. Any such affair inevitably ends on a sour note, with stolen assistants, ripped-off designs and melodramatic tears

Of course, Wendell is one of the few people in India to be openly gay. And how could he not talk about it? He openly talks about how Jerome and he happened. The difficulties they faced, the sadness that hits you when even the people you love aren't with you in your fight and how they put up with things, how it was only about love for him. The things he says, the way he talks of their relationship, one can see how true and deep it is. It comes across as very candid. He also mentions the Pacte Civil de Solidarite that the couple sign. 

Here's a quote about it from the book:
But being gay is not as gay as one imagines… Gay love is still forbidden love; it is not spoken about. In public, one must resort to a glance instead of holding hands; a subtle touch instead of an embrace. But one gets used to that.

I definitely also loved how the book had an index which a lot of books these days tend to not have. I flipped through at first and not only helps me go back and re-read chapters I'd particularly liked a little too much.

While a lot of people say that this book is a great read for fashion designing students, aspiring designers, and basically people from the fashion industry, I'd like to say that I think it makes a brilliant read for anyone who wants to read a humble honest and wonderfully written memoir/autobiography.

I would say that you should grab this and make it your weekend read, makes for a wonderful memoir! And well written with an easy to understand style yet gives attention to details and haves you wondering how and what he's going to do next.

Till next time,

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This book was received as a part of Blogadda's Book Review Program. Sign up for the Book Review Program forIndian Bloggers. and get free books! Participate now!

All the content in Italics in the above post are from the book and have been quoted.

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