Fashioning a line in modelling
Senaka de Silva is no stranger to the Sri Lankan Fashion and Beauty
industry. He has over the years gathered accolades as a creative fashion
designer, couturier, costume designer, choreographer, interior designer
and more. On May 26 he decided to spread his expertise in the fine art
of modeling when he launched his Diploma in Modeling at the
International Academy of Beauticians (Pvt) Ltd at Nugegoda. The course
involves Fashion Concept and Product Marketing, Model History, Model
Concept Development, Runway Walking Styles, Advance Poses and Beauty,
Health and Fitness. The result - you become a Supermodel. But that's not
all! Senaka tells us that he will be conducting Master Classes in
Fashion and Fantasy Makeup which will give you the correct know-how in
Skin-tone Bases and Foundation, Highlighting Contours of Features, Eye
Shadow, Variations Lip Shaping and Shading, Blusher Variations and
Fantasy Accessories in Makeup.
Senaka de Silva
You moved out of the beaten track in fashion presentation in Sri
Lanka what was your intention?
"Fashion in Sri Lanka was more 'westernised' and not Sri Lankan. If
we needed to be recognised internationally it was important that we used
Sri Lankan elements for our clothes, abroad. That is why I made use of
beeralu lace, batik and handloom and it was like a breath of fresh air
on the global runways. My presentation 'Shades of Lanka' sponsored by
Air Lanka was successful when I presented the shows in Paris, Rome,
Belgium, Amsterdam, Oman and Abu Dhabi. It was important to display
multi-ethnic culture through colour, texture and design. My models then
were Nishamani de Silva, Nushara Fernando, Shivani Vasagam, Premila de
Silva and Uma Jeyaram.
What would your comment be on the models we see today on the runway?
"There are plenty of them today but unlike the models in the early
years there seems to be a lack in model etiquette which I wonder is it
due to no proper background or is it an attitude problem that they find
it difficult to overcome. I am happy that I also launched Sangeetha and
Rozanne to the runway scene - they still are showstoppers."
hindsight Senaka de Silva is what he is today because of his childhood
fascination to art, textiles and jewellery. He studied his art at the
Melbourne Art School under Cora Abraham who instilled in him the freedom
to express himself without feeling restricted. "She taught us not to
fear art and colour, but to open our imagination and enjoy it,"
Shivani Vasagam Wedanayake a leading model was full of praise for
Senaka's tutelage in the modelling industry. Reflecting on her
experience Shivani said, "I started my modelling career under the
tutelage of my guru and mentor Senaka de Silva. From the time I started
my journey in the fashion industry Senaka has been my guiding light
giving me the foundation in catwalk and photographic modeling giving me
the finer tips to perfect my skills to become a top model in the
I was propelled to supermodel status when I won the Model of the Year
in '92. It was the greatest achievement in my modelling career and I
have promoted the fashion industry, couture and our textile heritage
through 'Shades of Sri Lanka' fashion troupe with Senaka in Belgium,
Paris, Rome, Oman, Abu Dhabi etc.
It was just the stepping stone and I went on to win the Miss Sri
Lanka for Miss Universe in '95 and Mrs. Sri Lanka in '99 representing my
country with pride and finally garnering international recognition by
winning the 4th Runner-up title at the Mrs. World pageant. The training
I received from Senaka helped me immensely since I not only perfected
the catwalk but also make-up, look and style and discipline which helped
me to become a professional in every sense in my life away from the Arc
lights leading me to success".