Colombo Fashion Week’s ‘Fashion+Food’ programme, which was part of the series ‘Celebrate Colombo’ in association with Sri Lanka Tourism, showcased Colombo as a vibrant city that buzzes with activity during Fashion Week, and highlighted the myriad attractions and experiences it has to offer. This season, seven premier restaurants in Colombo partnered with CFW to curate extraordinary dining experiences by offering limited edition, fashion-focused menus from 8 to 15 March 2015.
"Sri Lanka Tourism needs to develop new products to fulfil the changing needs of the global traveller if we are to be relevant in the entrenched competitive arena. We at Sri Lanka Tourism are testing this new project, ‘Celebrate Colombo’, which is tied up to seven key restaurants and two locations in Colombo,” says Rohantha Athukorala, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism. “Based on the project’s success, we will do a focused international launch at ‘Celebrate Galle’ under the brand umbrella of CFW."
With ‘Fashion+Food’, CFW takes good design and good taste beyond the runway to create citywide participation; it was able to bring together celebrated restaurateurs and chefs, and tastemakers of the local food and fashion industries to conceptualize menus that drew inspiration from iconic fashion designers, trends and lifestyles. The result was the elegant amalgamation of both industries, brought to life through innovative dishes that were beautiful in style and colour, and impeccable in presentation.
“For any chef, especially for our Executive Chef, Jean Philippot, any plate that comes out of his kitchen must look like a piece of art, as elegant and as beautiful as a new collection presented on a runway show by its designer,” says Catherine Obrenovic, Head of Public Relations and Events, Café Francais. The only French restaurant in Colombo, Café Francais presented a neo-romantic menu of luxury foods that were inspired by Parisian couture and Christian Dior. “We created a White Menu to capture the eye and tantalize the five senses of touch, sound, sight, taste and smell, so this menu could become a signature of what haute cuisine is for haute couture – just as unique as a piece of art.”
Chris Fuhrer, Director of Chesa Swiss, says, “We are pleased to see the spheres of fashion and food coming together in Sri Lanka as well. There is creativity, pleasure and excitement in both fashion and food. They are inherently linked; people seek style and good taste in every aspect of their lives.” An iconic fine dining establishment in Colombo, Chesa Swiss offered a menu that was inspired by the histories and traditions of styles that have withstood the test of time. “The menu was inspired by classic pieces from one’s wardrobe such as the Little Black Dress, tote bag and nude shoe.”
The five other restaurants that partnered with CFW and the ‘Fashion+Food’ menus were; Tintagel, a fusion of both the Paradise Road design identity and timeless fashion; Clique Cuisine, sophisticated fusion fare embodying the design and lifestyle ethos of Ralph Lauren; Nihonbashi, light, low-GI “pretty” plates that encapsulated the Runway Diet and Asylum, eclectic, contemporary dishes influenced by the raw world of McQ by Alexander McQueen. Within the Fashion Village at the Hilton Colombo Poolside, which hosted the HSBC Spring/Summer 2015 Show, Il Ponte served as a Fashion Café and Fashion Bar, offering a range of bento boxes with a twist, a stylish a la carte menu and fashion lifestyle-themed beverages throughout the day and during the shows at night.
CFW ‘Fashion+Food’ restaurants and menus were promoted extensively alongside the fashion shows and other CFW initiatives, across both mainstream and social media. This created a buzz around Colombo that generated curiosity and encouraged Fashion Week attendees and visitors to the city to be a part of a larger celebration that extended beyond the Fashion Village.
“Making CFW an event that encompasses the city of Colombo as a whole was much needed,” says Saskia Fernando, Director, Public Relations, Marketing and Events, Tintagel. “The curation of the restaurants in the line-up of the promotion showed a sensitivity to and awareness of style and quality, and we were glad to be a part of it.” Obrenovic says, “The ‘Celebrate Colombo’ series and this season’s ‘Fashion+Food’ series brought Colombo’s restaurant scene to a new level. Colombo was a vibrant city during the whole week. Foodies and fashionistas were out before and after the shows to enjoy fine food and drink.”
The ‘Fashion+Food’ component of ‘Celebrate Colombo’ was unanimously declared a success by all partnering restaurants, whose special menus received positive feedback from discerning patrons. “We had an amazing response from all the guests who came to Café Francais to discover how fashion could be so closely linked to food and how the aesthetics of a dish have become as important as its taste,” says Obrenovic. “The response in terms of number of covers during CFW showed us that the population of locals and expatriates living in Colombo were ready for this kind of event.” Fuhrer also states that Chesa Swiss “received excellent feedback on the execution of the menu and dishes.”
Through ‘Celebrate Colombo’ and ‘Fashion+Food’, CFW is able to drive creativity and originality amongst restaurateurs and chefs as it does each year with fashion designers, bringing them the opportunity to gain recognition and loyal clientele during one of South Asia’s most prominent Fashion Weeks. “We really hope that this experience will be renewed, as we will be happy to bring our support and collaboration to these events,” says Obrenovic. “Colombo has so much to offer, not only to a local clientele but to an international one as well.”
For more information on ‘Celebrate Colombo’ and upcoming CFW initiatives, visit the official CFW site (www.colombofashionweek.com). For photos and details of this season’s ‘Fashion+Food’ restaurants and menus, use #cfwff and #cfwfashionandfood on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or follow the official CFW ‘Fashion+Food’ page (www.facebook.com/CFWFF).