Chrysanthie back with plenty of “oomph”

By Duvindi Illankoon

Waiting for Chrysanthie Fernandopulle-Saverimutto’s much anticipated comeback, Catwalk Rag 2012 to start, many in the audience may have been forgiven for expecting a rather retro collection that would have taken its inspiration from the time she made her mark in the 70’s, before taking a break at the peak of her career.

They couldn’t have been more mistaken. This was all contemporary! The lights dimmed and the music pumped up, and a range of osari’s, in absolutely gorgeous designs appeared on the ramp. Opening the show was Chrysanthie’s daughter Mandhira, a fact not many were aware of.

The 16-year-old, confident and poised, modelled a cream osari that Chryss had designed for a competition but never used. She was accompanied by a male model in a salwar kameez, one of the few men’s creations Chryss put on the ramp. The line’s prominent feature were the jackets; plain material flecked with colour, they were elbow length and flared, adding a touch of fun to an otherwise stately collection. The next line was a range of short white dresses, featuring an abundance of frills and swishing their way up the ramp, eminently wearable.

They were followed by long, floral dresses that caught the audience’s imagination.
Another line of sarees this time in strong pastels, were followed by a range of outfits and dresses, alternatively in white and black, or white and orange. The saree was on the cards again; beautiful silk creations that moved with the wearer, shimmering under the lights and generally stealing the audience’s breath away.

Up next were a line of tongue-in-cheek black numbers; short, ready to wear and paired with black leggings, as well they might- it would need a lot of nerve to carry off those flowing dresses without reinforcement! This was followed on the ramp by another line of sarees patterned with flowers. Eye catching, sure, but they lacked the oomph factor that Chrysanthie so effortlessly achieved with the other designs. The colours were too staid and the flower designs questionable-they still earned her enthusiastic applause though.

Another line of sarees and dresses , this time in vibrant blocks of blue, yellow, red and orange followed. They were outstanding-casual and eye catching at the same time, ideal work wear for the discerning woman. Up next- bold animal prints that somehow managed to come off looking elegant and absolutely gorgeous, were in a class of their own.

The final piece, a black and white saree that was certainly eye catching, was completely outdone by its wearer, former Mrs World now turned politician Rosy Senanayake, making a rare return to the catwalk. A showstopper, she accompanied a beaming Chrysanthie down the ramp to what can only be described as thunderous applause.

Choreographer Geraldine Bandaranaike received her share of appreciation as well, for coordinating the models with amazing precision and flair. Ramani Fernando Salons handled their hair and makeup, and of course, there was Koluu, without whom, Chrysanthie insists, the show would not have happened.
Every piece of Chyrss literally screamed, wearable!

True, there was the occasional geometrically-challenging outfit here and there that might have made life a little difficult for the wearer, but all these pieces translated from the catwalk into real life. In other words, they all had potential to be worn by skinny six-foot tall models or plump five- foot society ladies. Colombo’s fashionistas may be running off to Chryss’ studio in Nugegoda to purchase these one-off pieces for themselves, and at the end of the day, that’s what every designer’s aspiration should be. Chryss is back on the ramp, and it was a comeback that was triumphant in every sense of the word.

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