Think of the swirl and shimmer of iridescent silks, the flurry and drift of lace and voile skirts, the twirl of a white lace parasol, the delicacy of hand-embroidered blouses of the finest cambric, the playfulness of denim skirts, pants and jackets appliquéd with flowers, of saucy hats with little net veils or tied with summery ribbons. Add to this wreaths of frangipani encircling sleek heads, a drift of perfume and flocks of butterflies, perched jauntily on heads, shoulders, skirts, wrists and the runway.
This captures the essence of the fashion show put on in Kandy on December 12 by designer Lillian Perera.
Titled “The Return of the Feminine Spirit” the show concentrated on all that was feminine, playful, frivolous and fun.
True to Lillian’s flair for the unusual, the show began dramatically with the appearance of a” Gara Yakka” clad in a fabulous robe of red, white and black, face hidden behind a yakka mask, held Venetian carnival-style on a stick, floating gracefully down the runway to “cleanse the space” and prepare the way for the return of the feminine spirit. The mask is removed, to disclose the serene beauty of Nadeeka Perera, Miss Sri Lanka 2005 wearing the award winning costume designed for her by Lillian for that occasion.
The way now being paved we welcomed a newcomer to the runway, Maneka,, as the embodiment of the Feminine Spirit, the personification of softness and light, of sunshine and laughter and of the sheer joy of being alive. Her outfit, another of Lillian’s masterpieces, was created for an earlier Miss Sri Lanka, her own daughter Shyamalee Jacqueline in 1985.
Together, these two outfits set the tone and the pace of the show – a feast for the senses as model followed model down the runway showcasing casual wear in denim and cotton, a smart casual collection in black, red and white, ensembles in lace, the piece de resistance of which was a long dreamy dress made out of a lace table cloth.
Silk dominated the cocktail collection and spilled over into a series of magnificent ensembles for special occasions ingeniously fashioned out of saris to make the best possible use of their sumptuous borders and pallus.
Two youthful brides from the East and the West brought the show to a dramatic close and released a mesmerized audience into a clement and starlit night to wonder over the marvels that they had seen.