Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week 2014: Trend roundup
ELLE Malaysia's editor-in-chief was impressed by the depth and breadth of talent showcased at KLFW14
Colour me impressed. The sophomore effort of Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week had me nodding my head in appreciation. It was incredibly exciting to see established designers showcasing their ability to reboot and update their design aesthetics to stay relevant, while young upstarts demonstrated skill, talent and creativity, and brought a new-generational take on fashion.
What struck me the most was the wonderfully modern delivery of contemporary silhouettes. The pairing of a boxy top and tea-length skirt with just the right amount of slouch that was seen in the collections of Zero to Ten, Zakwan Anuar and Haflins is the new uniform of relaxed chic. Then there were the casual layers with a distinctly sporty vibe at For All by Villiam Ooi in a strictly monochromatic palette that I want to wear on all my days off.
A streak of cheekiness ran through the collections that arose from the designers’ creative take on asymmetrical tailoring. At Dude & the Duchess, creative director Jonathan Liang sliced and spliced together geometric panels of sheer organza and black, white and mint satin for a graphic appeal. Similarly at Silas Liew, geometric panelling came into play with bold two-tone and tone-on-tone slashing. Cassey Gan layered her looks with organically-shaped cutouts for an offbeat effect, while Jasmi Rejab featured cutaway jackets and exaggerated asymmetrical hemlines. Jonathan Liang displayed an artful use of playful tailoring in his eponymous line, taking it a step further with unexpected details like zippers in the back of tops and jackets.
There were a lot of looks on display that evoked my tactile sensibilities, whether via textures or embellishments. Ophélie by Sean Loh’s pairing of gold embroidered cranes and sheer black lace was truly luxe. Zero to Ten’s sophisticated use of fabrics, from stiff mesh to circle-embossed and laser-cut, was a masterclass in subtle detailing that grabbed my attention without shouting. Rico Rinaldi and Wanpa both manipulated texture to great effect, with fringe, feathers and elaborate beadwork at Rinaldi and a shaggy monochromatic material that showed alongside a bright digital ‘Bambi’ print at Wanpa. Of course, you can’t talk about embellishments and not mention Farah Khan, whose latest collection was a strong and directional sequinned affair inspired by the Swingin’ Sixties.
For the unapologetically feminine woman, a selection of designers crafted perfectly pretty collections in sweet pastel shades. The more tailored looks came from Rizman Ruzaini who showed beautiful lace dresses and gowns in cool pastels, and Jovian Mandagie, whose ladylike separates were given added interest from lace, floral cutouts and mesh. Alia Bastamam and Innai Red’s collections were steeped in romance; flowy and sexy at Bastamam and just the right amount of flounce and beadwork at Innai Red. Mimpikita delivered wearable colour-block layering with soft and delicate tailoring.
And what is Autum Winter without strong outerwear? Despite our climate limitations, a handful of designers showcased a selection of coats and jackets that rivalled their international peers. Pearly Wong had incredible detailing on her outerwear, from pockets to buckles to zips, and menswear designer Joe Chia showed edgily constructed coats that women will love to 'borrow' from their boyfriends. Veterans Sonny San for Eclipse and Khoon Hooi demonstrated why there’s no school like the old school, delivering highly wearable yet desirable pieces. There were lightweight coats, bomber jackets and even (faux) fur stoles at Eclipse. Khoon Hooi brought his signature brand of Parisian chic to the table, with belted coats, houndstooth jackets paired with matching skirts and a feather jacket for a bit of flair.
Let’s not forget what makes us uniquely Malaysian, and that’s our heritage fabrics. Tom Abang Saufi by Iman and Ruzz Gahara stood out for their fresh take on batik, with their modern silhouettes and styling. But what was particularly interesting was the use of songket on tailored suits. Seen at Ezzati Amira. this was a great fusion of contemporary and heritage designs.
With so much growth in talent, creativity and sophistication from the first KLFW to this one, I can only wait in great anticipation for what’s in store for us next year.