When Malaysia’s top designer and top supermodel join forces in the name of fashion, you know the results will be magical.

THE clothes were just like the women who designed them: hard to ignore and visually decadent. But it was far from surprising, given how hard Melinda Looi and Amber Chia – two names that need no introduction in Malaysia – worked together.

Slated to be released before Chinese New Year, the MLxAC collection aptly titled Yuan: The Beauty Of Serendipity. Yuan is a Chinese word that describes “the “binding force” that links two persons together in any relationship”. In English, the word yuan is most closely translated to serendipity, which also means “finding something good without looking for it”.

Amber Chia modelling cheongsam from the MLxAC collection, aptly titled Yuan: The Beauty Of Serendipity.

“When people think of Chinese New Year, they usually associate it with wealth, health, and prosperity. However, we tend to forget that good fortune could also mean the abundance of wonderful people in our lives,” said Looi.

This exclusive range was developed to celebrate exactly that – the beauty of friends and relationships.

Featuring a variety of design aesthetics in a miasma of bright, auspicious colours, the clothes are meant to “represent the many faces and personalities of people that touch our lives.” It also mirrors Looi’s knack for versatility: instead of the traditional styles freed from the closet only for the occasional carousing, these Chinese New Year threads have been reimagined in the form of fresh, wearable pieces, like cocktail-worthy Oriental style dresses, spunky A-lined blouses as well as sleekly tailored vest and pants suitable for a day in the office.

A cool, contemporary ensemble for Chinese New Year.

Without a doubt, the “Unity” jacket is the collection’s standout – and not surprisingly, most expensive – piece. Fashioned from silk Sari fabric, with an elegant Kebaya cut and a Chinese button closure at the waist, it is – in true Looi style – a delightful tribute to Malaysia’s cultural potpourri. Just add to any ensemble for a subtle right-off-the-runway twist.

But it’s not all super stylin’. For la familia, the duo have come up with a more casual range of polo garments that’s fun for the less fashionably-inclined, including tops for men, women and even the little ones. The matching mother-daughter polo dresses offer a chance for girls to bond while looking pretty. It’s not difficult to see why Looi and Chia gravitated towards this concept; both were fiercely devoted mothers and wives themselves.

It is also yuan that brought these two fashion powerhouses together. As the privileged few who circled the fashion orbit since the early stages of their respective careers, Looi and Chia had constantly bumped into each other since the year 2000. But, it was not until recently – at yet another glittering soiree, to be precise – that the ladies decided to work together.

“Amber and I have known each other for so long, but we never got a chance to truly work together closely, so we thought, “What better occasion than Chinese New Year?” After all, it is a time of togetherness with friends and family,” said Melinda.

The collaboration was a “dream come true” for Chia, who always yearned to design her own line of clothes but never had the courage nor expertise to do so.

But, judging from the results, she’s taken a pretty good gamble.

Priced from RM68 to RM688, the MLxAC collection will available at the Melinda Looi Showroom in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur; the Melinda Looi Counter in Parkson Pavilion and Parkson KLCC as well as online portal Zalora.


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