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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."

In 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," expressed Senaka.

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 country.

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".

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