The first full look from Alia Bastamam's AW17 collection
The Malaysian designer dabbles into the Autumn Winter season for the first time. She explains the perks and challenges
What is the inspiration behind Alia Bastamam AW17?
It was challenging to create my first AW collection, so I reprogrammed myself to see it as liberation for a woman – she could be dressed in a mannish look, but will always keep her femininity and sensuality intact. Essentially, this collection reflects the many facets of a woman, and now I see women being more confident – even myself. I pushed away fear and doubts, and just went for it, and what we have now is my first AW collection.
What's the one thing you love most about it?
The selection of floral jacquards. Florals are the epitome of femininity, but what I picked is set against a black background, making it tougher, which is what I love about it. From a good distance, it could be mistaken for camo. Mostly, I used the floral jacquards on bomber jackets and puffer parkas.
What made you decide to design for Autumn Winter?
Since we started this label seven years ago, our aim has been to bring it out internationally. We finally decided it was time and 2017 is the year to do it. But to bring your label to the US, Europe or even China or the UAE, they need to know that you can cover all the seasons including AW. These are only the big seasons we're talking about – we haven't even begun to think about delving into the pre-collections just yet!
How different was the process, compared to Spring Summer?
Creating an AW collection is a completely different ballgame altogether. We were researching different types of knit compositions, figuring out how to make puffer jackets; is this dress wearable for colder climates? Is this sweater actually warm? Everything was so new, at times confusing, but at the same time very exciting and I really played around with a lot of things – there were many new details I added which I've never used before like buckles and nylon straps. I worked with waterproof fabrics, velvet and wool-blends. There were times I was so caught up in the AW thing, that I forget things like sexy evening dresses and short skirts. Thankfully, for our first AW collection, everything came together sensibly, practically and fashionably, and I really hope everyone likes it when we present it at KLFW this year.
When will the collection be available to shop in Malaysia?
We're jumping on the see-now-buy-now wagon, so this collection will be available right after we show at KLFW 2017 in August.
Who is the Alia Bastamam woman?
She's always sexy (but not in-your-face sexy, most times) with a kick-ass attitude. She's confident about her decisions, both in life and in style. She's extremely womanly and could very well fill the shoes of men!
If you could only work with one colour for the rest of your life, which colour and why?
White, simply because it doesn't restrict the design process. It could be sensual, sporty, sophisticated, young, mature – it's very versatile. Plus, everyone always does black.
I have only one pair of shoes to wear with your whole AW17 collection – what should they be?
Right now my collection of sneakers seems to be growing faster than my heels. So I made this collection wearable for both heels and sneakers. You'll see in our upcoming lookbook that we styled the looks with either killer patent black pumps or white/rose gold Stan Smiths – take your pick!
Where do you think Malaysia is right now, in terms of supporting local designers?
It's come a very long way since we started. Then, it was a very tight-knit community of who's who and pioneering designers. Now, everyone has their eyes opened to new, young designers who are making changes in our fashion industry. It's very uplifting!
What's next for the label?
At the moment, my design team and I are simultaneously working on three collections – Alia Bastamam Raya 2017, ALIA B. Cruise 2017/18 and Alia Bastamam SS18. It's our first time working on overlapping collections since we are adding more seasons to our calendar, so it gets pretty crazy in the atelier.