Kaleidoscope of talent
It was an evening of a mix of many things, a "Kaleidoscope – A cocktail of the '30's, '40's and '50's…" and this was the atmosphere created at the Graduation Design Show presented by the students of the Academy of Design.
Walking into the Empire Ballroom of the Mount Lavinia Hotel, on February 17, 2007, one was first able to see the many portfolios and creations of the Advertising and Interior Design Students of the Academy of Design, which is the only fully integrated school in Colombo, founded in the year 2001, to address the need for higher education in the field of design.
Themes in the past have ranged from 'Curiosity' to 'Gypsies' to 'Magic,' while the theme for this year was, 'looks from the 30s, 40s and 50s' combined with an artist/art movement from the same era. The students drew inspiration from a number of well-known artists like Frida Kahlo, Robert Delaunay, Pablo Picasso, Giacomo Balla to Salvador Dali, just to name a few, along with inspiration from Art Deco, Kinetic Art, Modernism, Abstract Expressionism and Art Nouveau.
A presentation was made to explain the three aspects covered at the academy– Interior Design, Advertising and Fashion Design. The design for the main banquet hall was designed by Chathuri Kannangara whose inspiration was drawn from the witty and amusing surrealist Belgian artist René Magritte. The ceiling of the hall was illuminated with a blue light which was meant to resemble the sky as can be seen in a number of this artist's paintings along with large designs of leaves, which were hung down from the ceiling as well. The concept of a kaleidoscope and the promotional material were designed by the Advertising Students.
What a kaleidoscope signifies is that different aspects come together to form one thing. A number of very different experiences are placed together to form something which has meaning when the connection is drawn. Here, the three areas of the design school, Fashion, Advertising and Interior Design combined to form this vibrant event.
The highlight of the evening was the main fashion show, which allowed the Fashion Design Students to show off their work. The clothes were modelled by Italian models, who were preceded by a sultry Tango, which paved the way for the designer looks...
The clothes ranged from casual wear to evening dresses to sport outfits and ready-to-wear outfits… The show started off with casual clothes using the colours of blue, white and red along with three quarter denim and black and white pin striped pants. Then came a line of sports-wear with pastel colours along with dark prints. A number of colourful designs were presented with vibrant colours used for accessories along with simple pearl necklaces. Even details likes the shoes that complemented the outfit caught my eye!
Kasuni Rathnasuriya (23) drew her inspiration from Fernand Leger, who was a French artist, and her line was white, linen, ready-to-wear clothes. The clothes were cubism inspired and she used embroidery and colourful fake diamonds on her designs. "Fashion is interesting," she said adding, for anyone interested in the field of fashion designing, that if you have creativity, you need to practise and start learning in order to sharpen your curiosity.
The Spanish artist Salvador Dali was the inspiration for Senari Fernando (20). The colours for her clothes were mainly peach and ash. The colours were inspired by Versace and the necklines from the 1930s. She used the idea of the watch. This is an idea drawn from Dali's paintings where the watch is really stiff, but in this case the watch is melting. Her designs also drew from the idea of how "man comes out from the egg shell."
Thiyanga Abeysuriya (21) used the French artist, Robert Delaunay's paintings for her inspiration and for the colours of her designs. She also was inspired by the designer Gucci for colours, cuts and necklines. She used purple for her design, complete with circular designs. Thiyanga went on to say that at the academy she has "learnt everything from looking into fabrics to sewing to merchandising."
Yet another Fashion Design student I spoke to was, Laksith Malalagama (20). He used the colours of purple and blue and drew his inspiration from the abstract Italian artists, Giacomo Balla who was known to create a pictorial depiction of light, movement and speed. In fact, Laksith was inspired by the Aurora (the northern lights).
He was inspired by the way in which the aurora changes colours and he also used the movement of the aurora to form the cuts for the dresses he designed.
To create the effect of the changing colours he used a shot fabric and shifted the use of the sequins.
Speaking to these students it was clear that they certainly enjoyed what they do… and may be some day, as the presenter for the evening said, their designs may even be seen on the catwalks of Milan, New York and Paris!
The main sponsor for this event of glitz and glamour was the Mount Lavinia Hotel while the electronic media sponsor was Channel 1 MTV, Yes FM and Y FM. The print media sponsors were the Daily Mirror, Hi Magazine and The Sunday Times.