Words: Tina Edward Gunawardhana
Photography: Christian Hutter
Models: Shenalee and Sushmita from the agency sri lanka
Make Up: Viran Jose Peter
Art Direction & Styling: Radhika Perera-Hernandez
Designer Radhika Perera Hernandez, the creator of her brand Lois London, is basking in the glory of the sensational photo shoot of her latest collection which is creating waves amongst the island’s fashion set. Fresh from her move from New York to Colombo, what better way to make her mark than launching a fabulous new collection with a dramatic photo shoot. “It was a blend of some great ideas and research between myself and the photographer Christian Hutter” she says. “We shot it at my house, so the environment and lighting really drove the shots too. I just knew I wanted something clean, but with a sense of boldness and I know we achieved that”. The fashion savvy designer Radhika emerges as she speaks passionately about the shoot that she’s uber proud of.
It is clear that creativity courses through Radhika’s veins, be it directing a shoot or creating clothes for which she is best known for. Known as the Queen of Kaftans, Radhika’s latest collection since leaving New York is a vintage inspired collection of womenswear that is predominantly a free size and adheres to a timeless design concept. Of her inspiration for the collection she says “this collection is an ode to my departure from New York and the magic I took from it”
Radhika has been a designer for nigh on a decade cutting her teeth with Beyonce’s fashion label in New York, where she moved to from London. “I just had a yearning to create. Creativity feeds my soul and thank God, despite all the years I still have that passion in me to go on creating fashion” she explains. Her new collection ‘Dreamscape’ has eight different styles in multiple colourways created from jewel tones silks blended with some beadwork and bold prints. The silhouettes are draped and more constructed, which is a slight deviation from her signature kaftans but is still in keeping with her free flowing bohemian chic aesthetic. For Radhika the selection of the right fabric is paramount. “My fabrics are sourced within Sri Lanka as well as India and many other locations. For me the feel and the colour of the fabric is the most important factor”.
Radhika has a gifted ability to see the beauty in the offbeat. She entwines this into her designs and effortlessly creates looks that blend her fashion points of view which are individuality and femininity, into her creations. This has earned her a legion of young and edgy fashionistas who are keen to wear her clothes and be part of the cool contingent. When Radhika showed at New York Fashion Week in 2016 she joined the ranks of a selected few Sri Lankans who hold the honour of showing at such a prestigious event. Leaving all that behind, how has she settled into designing for a Sri Lankan clientele? “Designing for women isn’t hard at all as long as the woman allows the designer to create from their point of view. Sri Lankan women tend to want to design their own garment. This begs the question of what then is the point of coming to an actual designer? A true designer will always respect their clients’ wishes without losing the brand identity in the process” she explains.
It is evident that Radhika has her finger on the fashion pulse and is clued up on the psyche of the Sri Lankan fashionistas who wish to maintain an exclusivity about their look. Radhika keeps her development tight so that only a handful of each style is created, but if there is a demand then she will increase her production. The Sri Lankan fashion landscape is varied and of her fellow designers Radhika says “ I appreciate how many designers have developed their own sustainable and artistic angles. They all seem to love that process when they develop their own prints and dyeing techniques. It is very inspiring”. Her words of wisdom to the younger generation of designers are “don’t watch what others are doing. Keep your head low and keep going”