Designer Wendell Rodricks has started work on turning his home into a museum of Goan sartorial traditions Fashion designer Wendell Rodricks is alarmingly unattached to his magically begotten and lovingly dressed heritage home in the village of Colvale in Goa. The bungalow is in the process of being converted into a museum of Goan costume.
"I feel no remorse," he says. "It's a place with such happy energies. I want to give it back to Goa; it will be my contribution to Colvale."
This is his ancestral village; of which the Rodricks are 'gaonkars' -the first people who settled and started a village. "If I dig deep enough in the church records, I can find my family's Hindu names before they converted," he says. "Living in my village truly gives me a sense of connect. From my people, I learn the native wisdom I have lost -like you have to warm up mango blossoms in winters so that you can have fruit in the winters."
Rodricks is sitting in the veranda that extends at the back of his house. This is the centre of his family life with partner Jerome Marrel, their four dogs, and three cats. The small table by the pool is at different times of the day a breakfast table, the morning office and dinner area. As the sun sets and Rodricks returns from his passoi (daily evening walk in the village or to the hill close by), candles light up the area. They don't use electricity in this part of the house at night.
Four-hundred-and-fifty-year-old Casa Dona Maria is a cultural landmark in the fashion world, almost as famous as its inhabitant. Rodricks bought it for the price of a city SUV in 1993 and named it after the mother-in-law of Olinda Braganza, the lady who sold it to him. He bought the brick-and-mortar structure sitting on half-an-acre of land but inherited the 200-year-old mango trees that yield almost every variety of the fruit grown in the state.
By December 2018, Casa Dona Maria will, all Goan gods willing, become Moda Goa -a museum of Goan costume and clothing. Rodricks is on the phone right now, arranging for the money to buy a vintage silver buckle and brooch from a family.It's the price of a Sabyasachi lehenga. "We searched for modern buildings that didn't have the problems of an old structure, but found that houses in Panjim were too close to the river and the water tends to rise up through the laterite stone," says the 56-yearold designer. Meanwhile, Rodricks got an offer to part with Casa Dona Maria for $3 million.
The buyer most likely had a boutique hotel in mind. But Rodricks remembered his promise to its previous owner, that he would never break down the house and only make alterations to enhance it. So, for the museum, the windows will be sealed, the rooms will be climate-controlled to save the artefacts from humidity and special cases are being brought in for the precious pieces.
The idea of a museum for Goan costume came to Rodricks while working on the book, Moda Goa, about costumes of Goa. And instead of building a new a modern structure, Rodricks decided to move into a rented home two minutes away, and turn Casa Dona Maria into a museum.In fact, the index of the book will form the structure of the museum too.
The decision could have been influenced by the excitement of two new design projects -one is changing the Dona Maria from a residence to a commercial space; the second to turn the rental home into a Rodricks-appropriate residence.
"I want the museum to run on the American business style model, like the Metropolitan museum (in New York City)," says Rodricks, who has been collecting books for the museum archives since 2010. "I want visitors to spend two, two-and-a-half hours wandering around, and finishing the tour with my mother's prawn curry and rice in the cafeteria. There will also be a photographic archive and library for students who want to research Goan history and clothing. I want it to come alive as a place of learning. Instead of plaques, I want information to be received in the way I am telling you know, like a story. So the curator will be trained to do that. I could helm tours if I am around or if there's a VIP group." The process has already begun to empty the rooms. Rodricks's self-admittedly has the largest collection of contemporary Goan art, and pieces like the Chaitali Morajkar painting, above his desk in the Opium Room, and the furniture in the salon have already been shortlisted for sale to fund the museum trust. Funds for the museum trust are also beings raised by liquidating their real estate assets in Panaji.
Keep your skin healthy this summer.
According to an expert, there are times when flat brown spots show up on some parts of the skin that have been exposed to the sun. Use cider vinegar or oatmeal to treat sunspots.
Seema Malik, a skin and cosmetic surgeon, shares a few tips:
* Place a cool compress on spotted skin.
* Take a cool shower or bath.
* Add one cup of cider vinegar to a bath to help balance the pH (acid or alkalinity) of spotted skin, and promote healing.
* Soak in an oatmeal bath. This is especially helpful for itchy sunburned skin.
* Use lotions that contain aloe vera to soothe and moisturise skin.
* Apply cool, not cold milk with a clean cloth to your skin. The milk will create a protein film that helps ease sunburn discomfort.
* Vitamin E and antioxidants can help decrease inflammation caused by sunburn. Apply Vitamin E oil on skin or take a regular dose of the supplement.
* Apply freshly brewed tea, after it has cooled, to skin using a clean cloth. The tannic acid in black tea is said to help draw heat from sunburned skin, and also aids in restoring the pH balance.
* Cucumbers have natural antioxidant and analgesic properties. Chill cucumbers, then mash in a blender to create a paste, and apply to affected areas including the face.
Sarah Ghobrial, swimwear buyer at Holt Renfrew, holtrenfrew.com
Tom Mora, head of women’s design at J.Crew, jcrew.com
Fay Yeung, owner of Sandpipers, sandpipers.ca
Liliana Mann, owner of Linea Intima, lineaintima.com
Q: How tight should a swimsuit be?
A: “Bathing suits and jeans should both be very tight when you buy them. The fabric will relax, and there aren’t many things less attractive than a bathing suit that sags.” —Mann
Q: Can you alter a swimsuit that’s not quite right?
A: “The straps are very easy to do, but I wouldn’t alter the sides because it would stress the seams. A swimsuit will stretch out a little bit, so you could wear it around the house until it gets comfortable.” —Yeung
Q: Why is it a good idea to shop for a swimsuit online?
A: “In the privacy of your own home, you can think about what you really like and feel comfortable trying on different styles without feeling pressured in a fitting room. Also, home lighting might be a bit softer.” —Mora
Q: When is the best time to buy?
A: “In the resort months of December and January, when we set up our swim shops and bring in the most merch-andise to fill them.” —Ghobrial
Q: When is it worth investing and when can you scrimp?
A: “If you need more support, you need to buy a suit that has a bra built in, and they tend to be more expensive. But if you’re going to swim all the time, I wouldn’t worry about buying an expensive bathing suit because it won’t last a long time.” —Mann
Q: What’s the point of padded cups in a bathing suit?
A: “It’s not really meant to give bulk—it’s for support. The soft cups shouldn’t be too small or they’ll show.” —Yeung
Q: Should swimwear fit like underwear?
A: “When a bra doesn’t fit, your bust will be down by your waist or you’ll have a double boob effect. The same thing happens in a swimsuit.” —Mann
Q: What are a swimsuit’s enemies?
A: “Chlorine, sun, heat, body oils and the creams you use for tanning all damage the fabric. It is very important to rinse it when you come in. If you rinse, salt water won’t affect it, but chlorine will damage the fabric and the colour even if it’s rinsed.” —Mann
Q: How can you prolong the life of a bathing suit?
A: “Hand-wash it and never use harsh detergents or bleach—there are several swim wash solutions available. To avoid colour fading and loss of elasticity, lay it flat to dry in a cool spot away from the sun.” —Ghobrial
Q: What’s the worst thing you can do to a swimsuit?
A: “The hot tub is a killer. Wear your oldest suit or something in 100 per cent polyester with no Lycra. But polyester doesn’t feel as resilient—it just stretches, it doesn’t really bounce back.” —Yeung
Q: How do you know when to throw a swimsuit out?
A: “You can hold it against the light and see the tiny elastics in the fabric breaking, and when you put it on you’ll actually hear it breaking.” —Yeung
Q: We’ve all had a bad experience with a white suit. Can it be done?
A: “It has to be double-layer because of the sheerness. White gets dirty and changes colour faster, so I’d rather spend more money on a suit that I’d keep longer. Maybe you don’t wear it as often—you wear it when you go in for the kill.” —Mann
Goa. The name alone sets our pulses racing. Sun, beach, culture, scenery – and the best bit – thousands of kilometers separating us from reality. How could such a destination ever disappoint? Exactly, it couldn’t. So whether you’re umming and ahhing over whether to make the trip, or have just never thought about going before, here’s The Beach Company's feature to demonstrate why when it comes to Goa, going is the only real option.
We guess it’s pretty obvious that a staple of the Goa diet is fish & rice, since it’s a collection of coastal fishing villages and all that, and oh do we love seafood. Dining out around the beautiful hamlets of Goa is an event like no other, filled with flavours and freshness. To ensure we don’t keep this too vague, we’ve even picked out a few of our favourite places to eat on a few of our favourite beaches. Aren’t you lucky.
Number one has to be Martin's Corner in Betalbatim in South Goa. Completely unpretentious and a favourite amongst the locals, you can easily rock up here in your beach gear and sample the best prawn curry you’ve ever tasted.
Then, for the nights you do want to dress up and revel in a little pretension, there’s nowhere better than Cohiba in Candolim. You’ll enjoy beautifully cooked food in an unbeatable setting with a fabulous live-band.
Our favourite places to sleep around the Goa range from hammocks on the beach to luxury lodgings on white sand beaches. The iconic Park Hyatt in Cansaulim we couldn’t go without mentioning, but there are some other lesser known resorts that are just as spectacular. Take The Sol for example. Sure it’s a little expensive, but oh wow is it worth it. And the Marbella Beach Resort in Morjim is another truly spectacular place to while away a few nights in paradise.
There are so many things to do for fun on these islands, and in this instance, we couldn’t turn the spotlight on just one thing. So here’s a list of just a couple (or 22…):
Diving (although not some of the world’s best), snorkelling, surfing, paddle boarding, hiking, climbing, swimming, spa-ing, horse riding, biking, driving, eating, drinking, cooking, sailing, wildlife watching, kayaking, jet skiing, shopping, skydiving, quad biking, star gazing…
Ok so we ran out of breath, but the list could be way longer. Just go already.