New Straits Times
Too much showbusiness
It’s not a great fashion week if no one cares about the clothes, write Aznim Ruhana Md Yusup and Nadia Badarudin
KUALA Lumpur Fashion Week returns for its sixth year this past week, and it still feels like its first. Held in the centre court of Pavilion KL where the seating arrangements are limited, cramped and less than ideal, it seems that organiser Andrew’s Models is content with it being a celebrity circus rather than a benchmark-setting fashion event.
Six years in — with Flair covering it for four — there is still too much focus and reliance on famous names on the front row instead of the clothes on the runway. It’s distracting to those who want to see what the Malaysian fashion industry has to offer, and a disservice to the designers’ work.
Eyeballs are great, but too much of it will and have led to an environment where superficial glamour trumps everything else, including originality and good workmanship. And
with the Melium Group taking over a slot on Thursday night to showcase the likes of Lanvin and Givenchy, KLFW is losing its way.
But hey, there was Neelofa walking for Max Mara and the Prime Minister’s grandson Othman Mirzan strutting in Hackett, which also released a special Malaysian edition polo shirt. Farah Khan’s sequinned Klimt and Mondrian dresses presumably made up for the night’s lack of local content.
Five shows over five days featuring some 100 labels make for a tough viewing schedule for fashion journalists. The grouping is often puzzling and irksome; wanting to see three designers means attending three different shows — and seeing designers you’re not interested to see — with many hours in-between mulling around for the door to open and the show to start.
So who or what is it all for? KLFW brands itself as a business-to-consumer platform, yet almost none of the labels adopt the see-now-buy-now approach. It’s meant to drive publicity and business for participating designers but its media approach is sloppy and selective — our photographer couldn’t get into one of the shows because the venue was full — while trade meetings are apparently non-existent. But what’s really lacking is genuine audience buzz about the clothes, shoes and headwear. Bremen Wong Millinery collaborated with a number of designers, as did Kulet and Zeve Shoes, making it a head-totoe showcase of Malaysian creativity and potential. It’s a case of too much show and not enough business. KLFW has become too caught up in its own hype. So who are the beacons of light that shine regardless?Fiziwoostandsoutwithitsloose and oversized yet beautifully structured gowns made up of layers of tulle and topped with floral embroidery. Arared takes on tulle as well to create bouncy midi skirts, while the pleated maxi skirts are sure to please its modest wear fan base.
Mimpikita, celebrating its 10th anniversary, plays with volume and a mishmash of flowy fabric in the saccharine colours. Jonathan Liang is equally feminine with his floral guipure lace creations in pastel green, pink and blue that he occasionally matches with hoodies and sweaters for a casual, effortless feel. Seza Zukeple also presents sweet, floral prints and minimal detailing that exudes elegance.
Ezzati Amira uses a chequered woven fabric to create some outstanding pieces, including a big-sleeved jacket and a winged skirt. Her outer wear pieces include long, light coats that are sexy and luxurious, while also beautiful in motion.
Seansheila has winter in mind too with its offering of warm jackets. The duo appeared to be inspired by the courier service with the use of barcode detail, as well as experiences in fashion and art school as several pieces are embellished with embroidered paint splatter and loose threads.
Nurita Harith plays up slim silhouettes in black and white, with her signature offshoulder top being the mainstay. Maarimaia appears to be the next go-to brand for women’s wear with its glittery dresses and Cassey Gan improves further on her signature curved hems and mix of prints for a delightful collection.
Meanwhile, Azura Azwa gives kaftans and other modest wear options a more tailored look. The brand made its name on turbans, and fittingly sent models down the runway in charming, innovative headwear. Maatin Shakir’s The Ritual collection highlights interesting abstract prints and its 60’s-inspired combo of sexy shoulder-less top paired with tiered pants could be the next wardrobe staple.
Syomirizwa Gupta also relies on prints as well as vibrant, jewel-toned garments, proving that the label is exactly what’s needed for a person to stand out in a crowd. But there are loud prints and colours at My Apparel Zoo as well.
For patterns, there’s really nothing like batik and Ruzz Gahara does not disappoint with its simple yet classy mix of batik designs in sombre, calming tones. Newcomer Ridzuan Alias styles his batik with chequered fabric resulting in a wonderful amalgamation of Scottish and Kelantanese aesthetics.
Lana is inspired by 1950s actress Saloma, projecting her as a delicate, young ingenue with a collection of frilled dresses with feather embellishments. And Zuusaha takes on monsters with prints and patterns reminiscent of characters from the Nickelodean cartoon “Aaahh!!! Real Monsters”, including a jacket and sweater with a raised monster pattern.
Jovian Mandagie returns to the KLFW stage to bring drama with oversized ruffles and wide-legged trousers including one made of faux fur material. Walking for him are the likes of old school models such as Amber Chia, Deborah Henry, Aleeza Kassim, Fadzlun Abas and Vanessa Tevi.
Meanwhile, Alia Bastamam reliably brings on the sleek and sexy with her short dresses and high slit skirts, although Afiq M seems to be toning it down a little, at least compared to his previous collections. And finally, Innai Red closed the proceedings with lots of shine and glitter.