The name Ramani Fernando is synonymous with the hair and beauty industry in Sri Lanka. Ramani is considered an expert in this industry which she has dedicated her life to. A stylish woman who is always immaculately presented, the elegant and classically attired Ramani will remain a style icon of our time.
At the forefront of the Sri Lankan hair and beauty industry, Ramani Fernando cuts a figure of respect and repute. A key player in the industry for over three decades, Ramani remains one of Colombo’s most fashionable and stylish women. Coupling her talent and sheer determination, Ramani turned her childhood hobby into a successful business and in the process earned an enviable reputation for high quality work throughout her chain of salons.
Tracing her roots from the village of Kuliyapitiya, Ramani ventured forth on a journey which saw her experience the big city life in London, opening her first salon at her home in Elibank Road and becoming the most influential personality in Sri Lanka’s hair and beauty industry.
From a very young age Ramani like countless others was fond of clothes and would have various ideas and designs in her head. She designed her own clothes with whatever fabrics she could lay her hands on. Her foray into the hair and beauty industry began just after her O’Levels at a time when there were a very few female hairstylists in the country. A visit to England just after her marriage to Ranjith Fernando gave Ramani the opportunity to apprentice at one of London’s most prestigious salons and also the chance to witness two masters, Gerard London and Martin Gold at work. This whetted her appetite and Ramani returned to Sri Lanka with a resolve to open her own hair salon.
Ramani is seen as a role model amongst both men and women across a diverse age range as many respect her for her work ethic and creativity. A regular on the cocktail circuit and various other social engagements, Ramani is immaculately dressed and well groomed. “When it comes to style, I see myself being immersed in an unending and ever-evolving story. For me my journey in style was never really a conscious decision; looking good and making people look their best was something I loved from an early age. Now some decades later, I realize the importance of following one’s heart and intuition” explains Ramani.
When Ramani strides into a room, in a long floor skimming dress or jeans and shirt, with a beautiful necklace resting on her sternum, men and women turn heads. Her confident demeanour, insouciant gaze, perfectly coiffed hair and delicate looks made her the original embodiment of effortless glamour. She favours clothing created by local designers ranging from KT Brown to Sonali Dharmawardene. Her accessories are always on point and Ramani is one of the rare Sri Lankan’s that has never committed a sartorial fashion faux pas. From trouser suits and skirts to long dresses, Ramani has perfected the art of looking chic.
Her mastery in the hair and beauty industry has seen her partner Colombo Fashion Week, one of Sri Lanka’s biggest fashion events, where she has been working on the looks since the inception of the show fifteen years ago. Speaking on her collaboration with Colombo Fashion Week Ramani adds,” We have come a long way since CFW first started. Every year, our team creates beautiful hairstyles that vary from elegant and polished to funky and edgy on different nights of the CFW shows. This is no easy task, but we enjoy the challenge and continue to do so in order to stay ahead in the fashion industry.”
Ramani’s expertise is highly sought after with many Colombo ladies having been dressed by Ramani as young brides continue to solicit her experience to dress their own offspring. Not only is her outward appearance beautiful but as a person Ramani is generous to a fault and is one who goes out of her way to help others. Many a society beauty at one stage of their life or another has been dressed by Ramani, be it for their engagement, wedding or a social event. à
Rosy Senanayake, the world’s most titled beauty queen is one such lady who continues to be groomed by Ramani Fernando. She says “Ramani is an epitome of style and fashion but her true beauty goes far deeper. It is her generosity and kindess and her ability to be a sister and a mother to all, that makes her truly exceptional as a human being. She is truly one amazing lady”
In 2014, a pivotal moment in her long career, Ramani launched her biography, which details her career in the industry, personal anecdotes touching and poignant memories giving readers an insight into the life of a woman who took the hair and beauty industry by storm, revolutionizing it with her own personal formula of style.
The much loved and respected late Kirthisri Karunaratne, fashion designer, society darling and columnist encapsulates Ramani Fernando when he wrote “Simplicity of style but achieving distinction in whatever she wears is Ramani Fernando whose success in the hairdressing and beauty field, has gone from strength to strength”
A respected style icon of our time, Ramani Fernando knows to wear clothes and not allow the clothes to wear her. She embodies a graceful elegance which is a testimony to her fashion ethos.
This article first appeared in the Hi!! Best Dressed List magazine 2018