I received a notification the other day that my blog had reached 200 followers and I wanted to take the time to say a HUGE ‘thank you’ to each and everyone of you for all the love and support in the past year. March is also when I started this blog and the past year has definitely been a wonderful rollercoaster-like ride. I started this blog purely because I love writing and I felt like I had a lot of ideas and thoughts to share with others. I didn’t think I would even continue to keep it up for a couple of months, let alone a year, but here I am writing a ‘thank you’ post for just that and also your continuing support. I’ve learned so much from blogging for the past 12 months and I have also in return learned a great deal from reading your posts. So, thank you once again and here’s to another wonderful year of blogging!
It was just about time that someone decided to locally manufacture a solid and high quality pair of shoes in my country. It’s not that the men in Sri Lanka do not enjoy shopping abroad for essentials (because they do!) but it’s also says something when a pair of shoes are locally handcrafted and manufactured for the market.
The trio at Zealous have been busy developing a handcrafted loafer, to be made in Sri Lanka for some time now and launched their first mens footwear collection last December. All raw materials from the sole to the handloom fabric are locally sourced and put together in Colombo. Seeing as each shoe is handcrafted, this has allowed them some liberty on how the final product truly is more than the sum of its parts. From leather to the label that nestles underneath the heel, the trio have put in a little more thought into every part that makes up a Dodo Footwear.
The handloom industry is currently regarded to be in a slump in Sri Lanka, not because the artisans lack trade craft or skills but because they lack proper channels to display and market their craft to a new market, be it local or international. The trio behind Dodo intend on changing this by developing products that satisfy the expectations of the modern consumer while preserving what makes each handcrafted product unique.
Our focus is providing a truly handcrafted product to each one of our customers because at Zealous, quality always trumps quantity.
I find the footwear to be made of the best of quality and the attention to detail is also impeccable. They are a solid and comfortable pair of mens footwear and I hear they are also in the process of creating a line for women as well.
Prices start at Rs. 3,500 for each pair and one can also opt to pick a different colour from their colour chart to personalise their Dodo footwear.
For more information, check out their Facebook page!
The year 2015 rang in HSBC Colombo Fashion Week (CFW) for the 12th consecutive and successful year. Each year I find that the CFW team has brought in diversity in terms of the entire look and activities related to the event and also the designers. It is no easy feat to organise and pull together an event of such calibre but they do it with oomph and the right amount of determination. Each year the team is even more committed to raising the bar of fashion and fashion designing in Sri Lanka. This year was however also very much focussed on marketing the local designers’ brands and labels and also getting them retail ready.
CFW took place over the past week and in conjunction to its main events, also hosted Fashion + Food, the Design Trunk Show, multiple workshops, BrightSparks and also Music Designed.
I find that there are less loopholes to the whole week of events as the years go on and this is definitely a good thing. The space and atmosphere was different this year and that is because the Hilton Colombo ballroom is currently under construction. So CFW made do with the poolside that was transformed into a Fashion Village. An hour or two before the show you’d find Ajai Vir Singh (President and Founder of CFW) walking to and fro making sure everything looks the way he wants them to, Tasneem (who handled PR) making sure the seating arrangements and reserved seating is in order, Dino Corera (compeer) making corrections and notes on his list of what to say, the models looking impeccable walking around the poolside and Prasad Bidapa giving orders for them to be ready in time.
The usual delay in starting the events each night was to have been expected and also the rush in which invitees hurry in to grab a good seat. I always have a good laugh over this as ladies in their ‘socially best attire’ hustle to and fro trying to find the perfect angle in which the show can be viewed.
I like to think that Day 1 was the best night of all three; not that they were not great but the first day really set the bar on high with a great selection of designers who showcased their work. The collection by Indeevari Yapa Abeywardena for her label INDI was based on the Silk Road folks. Traditional textiles were given an up do and transformed into modern and contemporary designs, outfits with embellishments and with a very vintage feel. Smocked mousseline, embroidered florals, heavily textured floral prints, lace, velvet trim finishes, embossed plisse and ribbon edges highlighted the girly and feminine silhouettes. Stefal by Peronie showcased for the first time this year and her collection introduced a new ancient craft technique incorporated into her designs. Being a mixed culture designer, her appreciation for rich artistry was very much apparent in her spring and summer collection which was of blues, reds and purples for the season.
Deneth showcased her designs once again this year and I find that each year she brings something similar yet different to the runway. Her designs mostly consist of the cheeththa fabric and her collection for 2015 took after the Chinese dress as a base cut, highlighted by shades of pastel blue, pink and also black. Of all the young designers, Amilani Perera showcased great growth through her collection this year. Inspired by the five-claw Vietnamese dragon, which was a symbol used only by kings at the time, her women’s wear line consisted of both structured and fluid silhouettes , new fabric embellishing techniques and luxurious silks in gold and grey silver. Onto perfecting the little white dress, Ramona Pulle certainly pulled off both flattering and form-fitting outfits that are versatile for the everyday woman. Her line ‘Exalt’ brought in designs with artisanal detail, luxurious fabrics and pieces that flatter the female form in traditional black and white colours and a touch of bright yellow, blue, pink and green. Charini Suriyage has a love for what is both traditional and modern. Her collection for CFW 2015 therefore consisted of modern-esque pieces form and flowy silhouettes and minute laser cut detail that was exquisite.
Straying away from his usual pastel and light hues, Dimuthu Sahabandu‘s collection was themed around “what brings us together pulls us apart” in dark shades of grey, black and a touch of white and mustard. Applying this universal concept in to his collection, garment fastenings were consisted in his designers. The collection also was a combination of his signature draping combined with structured tailoring. Completed the events of the first night was Radhika Hernandez‘s label Lois London. As a luxury kaftan line, her designs consisted of silk fabrics in bright and bold summery hues, draped into utterly feminine and timeless silhouettes.
Kicking off the second day of CFW was Ramona Oshini with her collection ‘Stained’. Inspired by the stained glass designs from Dutch era churches and chapels, she gracefully managed to incorporate it all into her collection that featured vibrant colours, batik and the arashi shibori dye technique. Each piece therefore was timeless and dominated in shades of green, red, blue, black and gold. Another designer in whom I saw a great deal of growth was Yasisurie Kiribandara. Well focussed on creating pieces that were of the highest quality and well execution, black and white dominated her designs that dwelled into the inner peace of man. The symbol of peace was not overly used but gave some of her pieces an individualistic and serene look. She made use of silk satin fabric for her collection.
Another newcomer to the CFW platform was Nelun Harasgama whose designer label ‘Ohe Island’ was a fresh and vibrant change to the second night’s showings. Her ocean inspired collection featured sarees, evening wear, pants and shirts, scarves, bags and shawls. Executed in batik and patchwork, her debut was certainly well received. Sonali Dharmawardena‘s label ‘Acushla’ closed the night with a stellar selection of evening wear, including exquisite sarees. Although she doesn’t call herself a designer, I find her clothing to be an epitome of what fashion is all about.
As always, there are high expectations for the final night of CFW. The designer line-up seemed promising at the time. Opening the night’s events was Colombo Jewellery Stores, the ‘Unforgettable Collection’ by Akram Cassim. The collection reflects an understated sense of elegance and consisted of beautifully handcrafted earrings, bangles, bracelets and necklaces using amethysts, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies and citrines. Drawing inspiration as always from the magical East coast, Arugam Bay beachwear focussed on a more nautical and colour-block aspect of designs. The clean and fitted used of colour highlighted the laidback styles of this collection.
For this year, the FH Studio collection by Fouzul Hameed revolved around the shades of blue. Overall, the collection included semi collection that were of casual linen, smart casual and ceremonial. The designer had made use of innovative laser and digital prints to give his collection a very diverse and unique look. All garments were made using the finest of fabrics and accessories, ensuring high quality and perfection. Upeksha Hager is no stranger to CFW but I also saw a great deal of growth in her collection as well this year. Her collection had a very rustic yet clean cup look. Her seamless attention to detail and finish as always has been a prominent feature of her work, and this year was no different. She took on the task of working with both light and pastel shades as well as dark toned hues to create a very unique collection for the runway. Bringing all three shows to an end was none other than Yoland Aluwihare. Dresses, sarees and evening wear with asymmetrical elements, exotic fabrics, splashes of colour and sophisticated modern shapes highlighted her collection that was heavy on muted tones and gradually moved on to striking summer shades.
Of the handful international designers who also participated in CFW this year, Harare by Caroline Fuss and the collection by Lars Anderson certainly stood out. While Fuss’s collection consisted of woolly and thick fabrics crafted into modern and contemporary designs, Anderson’s collection featured scooped neck dresses, cropped shawls and long skirts made of the finest Japanese and Italian fabrics.
Got mail this morning and I was too excited to leave it aside for another so here’s a quick review of my Essie Garden Collection polish – Perennial Chic.
I actually loved all the colours but this is the one that really spoke to me 😀 It’s perfect for everyday wear and is this nude peach like shade. I must add that it did need two full coats to reach complete opacity. Got two family engagements to attend tomorrow and I believe this polish would go perfectly with my outfits!
This polish is part of the spring collection for 2015. The collection also includes a light mint like colour which I am also extremely tempted to order. All the polish have floral names to go with them which I absolutely love too.
As you all know, I made six New Year Resolutions for this year. I’m not one to usually make any at all but I thought this year would be different and I would do my best to keep up with them. So, I thought every three months, I’ll give you guys an update as to how far along I’ve been keeping up with my resolutions and this would be my first update 🙂
Two of my resolutions had to do with a healthy lifestyle… probably three. I wanted to eat healthy, continue with my yoga practices and also stay away from fizzy and unhealthy drinks. Super thrilled to say, I have been sticking with all three. I love salads and soups so I have been having more of them as a whole meal, I’ve also been practising yoga three to four times a week and I’ve had no fizzy drinks since the beginning of this year. Yay me! I’ve also taken a few extra steps to do a bit of cardio every now and then during the week and weekend whenever I have the time and I actually feel myself become stronger and fit.
I’ve also been reading quite progressively over the past two months and I am super duper happy about it. I actually missed holding a book in my hand so to have me back on the reading bandwagon is such a happy and satisfying feeling. I’ve already ordered another book online for the month of April. As for blogging a couple of times a week, you guys can obviously tell, I am making a huge effort to make sure I have posts very frequently. I do not want to fall off that bandwagon and neglect this blog, especially when it’s just about a year since I started. I didn’t quite realise that until writing this post right now…. oh boy it’s been a year!!!! Just want to take a moment and say a HUGE thank you to all my followers and fellow bloggers you have been supporting me throughout this journey, and also another round of thank yous to my family and friends 🙂 🙂
As for expanding my little online business, I will be featured in a teen magazine next month! Yes, this is another step towards the expansion process and I am so happy and feel so blessed to be where I am in my life right now. Things are really working out well so once again a big thank you to everyone who has supported me through the thick and the thin!
You all know I do not apply a ton of makeup on my face – a good kohl kajal or eyeliner, mascara occasionally and a lipstick usually does the trick even if I have dark circles. I ain’t shy to walk around with them. This is just me ladies. Nothing to be ashamed of.
However, I do know that most of you out there love your makeup and have a routine before heading out the door. Here’s something I just came across (a few months late, but who cares right?) while reading online and I thought would be extremely helpful. The article discusses common makeup mistakes women make on a daily basis and I believe I’ve seen some of these mistakes play out on YouTube beauty tutorials.
I actually found it quite helpful because I do not know many things about applying makeup. Did you know that you have to test a new shade of foundation on your neck instead of your cheek? I sure didn’t! And did you know that you shouldn’t be using the same concealer that covers up your dark circles on your pimples? There’s plenty to learn from this one so I hope you all find it helpful 🙂
“Self portraits are unusually very beautiful almost all the time and I always wondered why this was. Is that really how we see ourselves or is it another’s perception of how we look? I wanted to look deep inside and really take a look at how I saw myself. I wanted to first make a connection with myself before making a connection with the society. That is why I think inner sounds and emotions are very important. That is the ideology and inspiration of this exhibition,” explained Manoranjana Herath.
His most recent and 18th solo exhibition was held at the Barefoot Gallery earlier this year. The exhibition included 20 paintings and 15 sculptures.
I find that it isn’t easy to talk things out. I know i’m not the only one when I say it’s difficult to open up and speak about how you feel and what you think wholeheartedly. This is the fault in us as humans. We keep so much to ourselves even without realizing it. Herath agrees and admits that he himself is much like that. “What we feel and think inside, is what I have tried to depict in my work. I feel that the more the world moves forward, the more we keep to ourselves. That constriction and limitation of emotions are depicted in terms of the dark colours I’ve used.”
Herath’s self portraits say so much with little. A hundred faces within a single face. Constrictions within constrictions. This is a day to day matter. He explained that he has the habit of adding other mediums to his paintings as well as actual photographs of himself from the age of 12 to make it seem more appealing. I find that this way, he reaches out a step further than usual and viewers would be able to connect deeper. He says the fact that his portraits are dark and grey and also because people are not honest and trustworthy any longer. There is a lot of dishonesty, distrust and falsehood in the world, and so there are deep shadows in his work to depict this.
“My sculptors are also self imaged makes. I’ve used different materials on them as well to send out different ideologies and messages. In one I’ve placed a fish bowl at the base. The water shows the reflection of the sculpture. I find that even when someone is hiding something, there is always a way of finding out what’s deep inside, even through their reflection. One other sculpture has arrows pointed towards the centre. The heart is visible. This can be interpreted in many different ways. I like to think that the arrows are struggles and hurdles in life; all aimed at breaking the heart. So in this way, all of what is exhibited tells a story; a story of the inner sounds within themselves and within ourselves.”
Herath began his work on this exhibition as a project. He admits that he often draws sketches of his sculptures so that he has a rough idea as to how he wants it to turn out. “I have a visual image of it in my mind and ocassionally it does come out the way I want it too. But sometimes, when I look at a finished sculpture I have different thoughts running in my head and then I change the look of it,” he said. To him, art is a form of expression. It was his creative inclination during his early adulthood years that steered him towards the art stream and led him to becoming a senior lecturer of the Department of Sculpture at the University of Visual and Performing Arts in Colombo today.
“The art of sculptures isn’t for everyone. Each artist has a different passion within art itself. For me, I simply found myself steering down this path and for what reason I quite do not know. I love that I can use my hands in the uttermost manner to say how I feel within myself. It gives me a lot of freedom; the kind that sometimes I find difficult to put into words. I am able to make someone think, ponder, smile, be angry, hurt and laugh with what I can create. That to me is the greatest achievement as an artist.”