- Special edition of Colombo Fashion Week held on 17 November
By Venessa Anthony
Photos Lalith Perera
The Luxury Edition by Colombo Fashion Week (CFW) took place on 17 November at the Galle Face Hotel. This special edition of CFW aimed to focus on craftsmanship in design creation leading to sustainable luxury, and explored an opportunity to increase the value of the designed products through craftsmanship.
This single-day edition showcased Sri Lanka’s fashion design talent with emphasis on luxury and wedding wear, which also aimed at creating a positive vibe for the creative and design industry at this time. The show also comprised segments featuring occasion wear and bridal trousseaus.
Here’s a look at the designers and their collections.
Darshi Keerthisena took the stage to show off 12 pieces under her collection titled “Rebirth”. This collection draws inspiration from the great unravelling of our times and uses glimpses of our current norm in the designs. For this season’s collection, Keerthisena captured the story of the lotus, the leopard, and the soul; working together in harmony, refusing to apologise for their wild tendencies. The collection was also sustainably curated, with Keerthisena remaining conscious of the planet while paying attention to detail. Despite the challenges she faced in securing materials, raw dyes, and chemicals, coupled with the unfavourable weather for batik, she managed to pull off a stunning collection as always.
Hameed’s creation this year was inspired by Italian ceremonial wear with a touch of the East, combining simple Sri Lankan fashion into the designs. Hameed utilised luxurious types of fabric, top-notch quality, and skilled craftsmanship, culminating in an extraordinarily opulent feel and look. Hameed took the concept of power dressing to a new level with 16 designs, all in darker colours to remain synonymous with luxurious evening wear. The collection was created using only the finest wool, silk, and linen silk, and yet remained sustainable and ethical in terms of sourcing the materials as well as putting the designs together. The collection was artistically matched with premium accessories to intensify the glamorous look.
Sonali Dharmawardena has worked with many creative mediums from pottery, jewellery, and fine art in oil, watercolour, and pencil. But with her discovery of the heritage art of batik, her life took on a whole new journey, as her love of fashion and art converged. Dharmawardena experimented with new technologies and innovations to make this collection stand out. She had spent most of her time dabbling in many forms of value-addition to fabric by creating fusions of traditional and ancient styles, which are clearly seen in this collection. Her specialty lies in working with natural fabric using wax and dye to create her own signature lines of fabric.
For the first time since he began showcasing at Colombo Fashion Week, Ayesh Wickramarathne took the stage as a main designer. No longer an emerging designer, he has carved out a space for himself in an ever changing industry. Wickramarathne showcased a collection inspired by the Sri Lankan human-elephant conflict. The collection, titled “Aralaganvila”, was brought together using hand embroidery techniques and zero-waste fabric. Wickramarathne’s strength as a designer lies in his silhouettes, creative pattern making, and draping techniques. He is also passionate about sustainable fashion, and continues to experiment with techniques such as natural printing and zero-waste design practices, which he incorporates into his collections.
Inspired by her love for experimenting with combinations of the traditional and modern, Charini Suriyage has made a mark for herself in the ethical fashion arena. Focusing on fun dramatic silhouettes in vibrant colours made out of handcrafted prints batik fabrics, this collection by Suriyage celebrates luxury and true responsible fashion. Keeping the timely concept of destination weddings in mind, Suriyage’s collection presented bridal looks for the season, showcasing the contrast of structured simplicity and the elegance of flowy dramatic drapes.
Titled “Penumbra”, Harinda Gunawardena’s collection was heavily inspired by the space between illumination and shadow. This collection paid attention to fluid silhouettes through contemporary local batik craft, using many dynamic colour profiles to craft lavish designs. The collection showcased several jewelled tones, as well as saturated colours, which rendered the designs dynamic and eye-catching. He also veered away from his usual liking towards bright, bold colours in his designs, opting for a more neutral and dull palette on some of his pieces.
“La Pard” by Dinushi Pamunuwa is a luxury batik clothing brand specialising in lingerie, nightwear, eveningwear, and resort wear. The brand infuses the batik craft into contemporary designs in order to bring luxurious clothing to consumers. Pamunuwa’s collection, titled “Touched by an Angel”, featured feminine silhouettes that were flowy and figure-hugging to encapsulate the notions of femininity represented by contemporary clothing. The batik was soft and dainty, with splashes of colour signifying sparks of joy. She drew much inspiration from a lit-up night, and infused it with her perception of a starry sky. As always, her collection remained elegant and timeless, with a touch of simplicity.
Kamil Hewavitharana drew inspiration from the concept of an eclipse for his collection. Hewavitharana has a history of drawing inspiration from nature, and hiding the message of protecting one’s planet in his creations. Hewavitharana was exposed to design from an early age, being inspired by his mother, who was an expert at designing and creating outfits for his five sisters. His design ethos involves creating voluminous and constructed outfits that have a great sense of drama.
With his collection, he urges people to protect the planet we call home, and to refrain from selfishness and greed. The collection showcased dark colours in line with the theme, and featured splashes of green, red, and orange. With his love for the environment in mind, Hewavitharana’s collections have always been sustainable and preached ethical practices in design.
Designer Aslam Hussein showcased his latest bridal collection with theatrical flair at the CFW segment featuring bridal trousseaus. The collection presented two statuesque statement pieces of sheer grace, treasuring handcrafted heritage while maintaining a contemporary outlook.
Asanka De Mel
LOVI’s bridal collection was a celebration of a prosperous Sri Lankan future. Rooted in traditional hand embroidery, the clothing was made for modern royalty. The clothes were entirely handmade using naturally biodegradable cottons and silks, and also avoided polyesters, nylons, and spandex fabrics. As always, LOVI is deeply Sri Lankan, modern, and positive.