Old Hollywood glam­our

Sy­omir Izwa takes great pains to make ev­ery out­fit per­fect.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FASHION - by K.R. minG

DOES the thought of run­ning around town look­ing for that “per­fect” dress send a shiver down your spine? For some women, there is no such prob­lem. They are of­ten per­fectly coiffed at par­ties, dressed in a cock­tail gown that is just right for them. This is where the name Sy­omir Izwa crops up, the lat­est name in the de­sign­ers’ hall of fame.

Eight years is a long time to be un­der the fashion radar but this KL boy, who be­gan mak­ing skirts when he was in his teens, may not be able to keep it that way for long. At last year’s Malaysia-In­ter­na­tional Fashion Week (M-IFW), his col­lec­tion of Tina Modot­timeets-Frida Kahlo sun dresses and ke­baya wraps (imag­ine sun-bathing in Belize) added a touch of glam­our.

The acid test for ev­ery de­signer is in the fin­ish­ing of a gar­ment. And un­der the un­for­giv­ing glare of the run­way lights, un­steady hands on un­fa­mil­iar fab­ric have been the un­do­ing of many a de­signer. For Sy­omir, 33, this does not pose a prob­lem. Here is a man who painstak­ingly sews semi-pre­cious gems onto gar­ments by hand in the mid­dle of the night. His main con­cern is how to keep up with the or­ders for his line of ready-to-wear and made-to-or­der dresses.

With an es­tab­lished clien­tele (com­pris­ing mem­bers of roy­alty and high so­ci­ety), Sy­omir fi­nally made the move a few months ago from the bou­tique be­low his apart­ment to a proper work­shop, of­fice and sa­lon at So­laris Du­ta­mas, Kuala Lumpur.

A cou­ple of years ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing on projects at the Is­land Shop pro­vided him the tech­ni­cal knowl­edge to spear­head his own brand. Un­der the tute­lage of vet­eran de­signer Dou­glas Chew at Raf­fles In­ter­na­tional Col­lege (for­merly known as LaSalle In­ter­na­tional De­sign School) in KL, Sy­omir has learnt to “know your di­rec­tion. Don’t copy trends but be aware of the lat­est trends.”

To that end, his de­signs have never chased the fleet­ing “look of the moment.” His sig­na­ture style is the use of pleats to em­pha­sise a woman’s curves. “Em­broi­dery and em­bel­lish­ment on a dress is un­nec­es­sary if the fab­ric is of good qual­ity,” he says. “Malaysians need to learn that less is more. I try to ed­u­cate my cus­tomers, es­pe­cially for wed­dings, that they need to fo­cus on one part of the body. The fab­ric is al­ready ex­pen- sive, why must you cover it up with so many em­bel­lish­ments?”

His cock­tail dresses and wed­ding gowns are in­spired by the likes of Old Hollywood’s Lana Turner, Mar­lene Di­et­rich and Greta Garbo in gor­geous gowns made of silk satin, chif­fon and lace.

So what should you ex­pect when you make an ap­point­ment with Sy­omir?

“For made-to-or­der pieces, I will nor­mally do a sketch on the spot based on what the cus­tomer wants. Some­times, she may pro­vide her own fab­ric and I’ll de­sign some­thing depend­ing on the type of fab­ric. “Most of my cus­tomers know about me by word of mouth or through Face­book, so when they come to my shop, they al­ready have an idea of my work. Usu­ally, they will give me a print­out of what they want.”

Once you’re sat­is­fied with the de­sign, there will be two fit­ting ses­sions be­fore the dress is hand-de­liv­ered in about three weeks. Most of his dresses have an in­ner corset to give that hour­glass shape. And, if you’re look­ing for more bang for your buck, his take on the baju ku­rung usu­ally can be mixed and matched with other pieces, and the top can dou­ble as a knee­length dress. The ideal time to view a sam­ple of Sy­omir’s de­signs will be dur­ing the M-IFW held at Pavil­ion Kuala Lumpur to­mor­row. For the first time, he will be work­ing with more struc­tured fabrics such as taffeta, silk or­ganza and crepe. Sy­omir will of­fer 16 de­signs in­clud­ing an up­dated ver­sion of the jump­suit, and stun­ning cock­tail dresses in yel­low and turquoise.

With a thriv­ing la­bel to his name, is there any­thing else that Sy­omir de­sires? “I want to dress Sheila Majid,” he ex­claims. Judg­ing by the re­views of his past col­lec­tion, this may be­come a re­al­ity sooner than he thinks!

Sy­omir’s Spring/Sum­mer ready-to-wear col­lec­tion will be fea­tured at the Af­ter­noon Tete-aTete show­case at MIFW 2010 to­mor­row at 2.30pm, Pavil­ion KL. Be­sides Sy­omir, other par­tic­i­pat­ing de­sign­ers in­clude PU3, Os­car Ng, Shinju Pearls and Asian Ate­lier by Alin Anuar. n Prices for made-to­order dresses start from RM1,800, while ready-to-wear out­fits cost RM400 on­wards. For de­tails, call % 036207 9720 or log on to face­book.com/pages/ Sy­omir-Izwa (Pic right) Strap­less evening dress with elon­gated pleats to flat­ter the fig­ure.

Evening gown

with sin­gle shoul­der strap. A burst of sun­shine in a breath­tak­ing de­sign. Un­der­stated el­e­gance in this wed­ding

gown. Liv­ing his dream: Sy­omir Izwa has come a long way since de­sign­ing

clothes in his teens.

Wed­ding gown with

ruch­ing and lace.

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