Old Hollywood glamour
Syomir Izwa takes great pains to make every outfit perfect.
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.
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.