HSBC Colombo Fashion Week 2015

Ramona Oshini
Ramona Oshini

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.

Atsu
Atsu

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.

U by Upeksha
U by Upeksha

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.

Day 1

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.

Indi
Indi

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.

Charini Suriyage
Charini Suriyage

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.

Day 2

Dims
Dimuthu Sahabandu

 

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.

Arugam Bay
Arugam Bay

Day 3

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.

Amilani Perera
Amilani Perera

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.

**As published in the Ceylon Today newspapers**

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Inner Sounds

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“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.

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“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.”

**As published in the Ceylon Today newspapers**

Colombo Design Market ’14

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Here’s what I love about Christmas – the fact that everyone gets together and all the awesome sales! đŸ˜€

The Colombo Design Market isn’t really Christmas related but I am sure a lot of locals will be doing a lot of their shopping on this day. This is a one day event and will be held at at the Laksala Museum on 14 Sunday from 11.am. onwards. This is a curated design market for homegrown designers, artists, craftsman, musicians and creatives to collaborate, create, showcase and sell their work.

If you’d like to know more about all the participants, check out their Facebook events page!

Elevating consciousness

I have to admit, this year’s Colombo Fashion Week did introduce some very talented new designers. Yasisurie Kiribandara was one of them.

Yasisurie
Yasisurie

Her collection featured a selection of curve cut and shapes dresses, and was inspired by the creative force of God who is the greatest creator. Her uses include sacred geometrical symbols; pure cotton with a satin finish allows her designs to be modern yet effortless. These motifs have been created with the use of laser cut technology and it gives it that added edge and chicness.

Geom
Geom

She started her business a few years ago and says that starting something on her own was the best decision she’s ever made. As quite the devotional being, Yasisurie has worked many jobs in the past in the fashion industry. Her experiences have taken her to multiple countries, allowed her space to converse with fashion designers, including Ann Taylor and Calvin Klein, and also given her the driving force to come up with creative ideas of her own.

Laser cut
Laser cut
Chic silhouettes
Chic silhouettes

She started her own design company under the name ‘Oneera’ in July 2013. It is a high-end label that caters to the young and fashionable who look for detailed, chic clothing with a modern and global touch. It was her new found freedom and understanding of the greater source of power that gave birth to her collection showcased at Fashion Week earlier this year. She went with geometric symbols and patterns, dimensions that were mathematical and ancient symbols that she admits elevate the consciousness of the person wearing the garment.

Working it!
Working it!

Take a look at more of her designs on her Facebook page – Yasisurie
Pix by Preveen Rodrigo

Xoxo