By DZIREENA MAHADZIR and JEREMY TAN
Penang Fashion Week concluded on a high note last weekend, which saw the participation of local designers and several well-known brands.
Held at Gurney Paragon Mall, the event, which will be an annual one, ran from April 18 to 26, and aims to position Penang as an emerging fashion hub as well as putting the spotlight on the state’s designers.
Participating designers were Tanya Steven, Samantha Chua, Ranndy Goh, Keith Kee, Aden Yong and Xue Kai.
The opening gala night on April 19 featured Tanya Steven (Ahnde), the Valiram Group, Debenhams, Padini Concept Store, My Dream Wedding and Logo.
The glamorous event saw the presence of Datuk Jimmy Choo and our very own supermodel, Amber Chia, who walked the runway for Ahnde.
Steven’s Ahnde, one of the most anticipated collections of the event, closed the gala night.
While Goh showed his collection on the first day, the remaining four designers, Kee, Xue Kai, Chua and Yong were seen during the closing weekend.
Other participants during the week included Hairshow by Hairstory, Ecco, Kenneth Cole, BebeButterfly, Equator College and Number Three by Backstage. Here’s a review of the local designers.
Goh, the first local designer to kick-off fashion week, sent out an all-black collection of edgy and contemporary pieces.
Swirling cloaks, one of which was attached to a mini skirt, sequinned dresses and plenty of lace were seen.
There were several mini dresses and skirts – one dress had tiers of ruffles and another had a layers of tulle giving it an exaggerated silhouette.
For men, interesting pieces included a blazer that looked like the other half had been intentionally cut off, and a long shirt looked like a dress.
Malaysian-born Tanya Steven and her London-based label Ahnde (pronounced “and”) saw a collection that revolves around a darkly romantic tale, one of which is the friction between love and decay.
Colours were relatively sombre, but the pieces were well-executed with hand-embroidery on some pieces.
Floaty dresses, shorter ones with masses of feathers and beautifully embroidered skirts and trousers made for a delightful and wearable collection.
Steven made a mark at London Fashion Week in September 2013 with this particular collection.
Lim Syer Khai, or better known as Xue Kai, showed two collections: the Spring/Summer 2015 which originated from his final year of studies (he graduated from Equator College in Penang last year), along with the more recent 001 Spring/Summer 2016 range done post-graduation.
He describes the former as an androgynous range with bold and organic patterns. Drawing inspiration from menswear, they were presented in a palette of black, white and aqua.
The latter, with the 001 denoting it being the first collection of his career proper, was more monochromatic with blacks, whites and grays being predominant on simple and ready-to-wear garments that were inspired by the underworld.
“I’ve seen ghosts before, and this range is inspired by graves,” Xue Kai quips, adding that black and white are his favourite colours, to which he usually adds another hue to mix things up.
Known for timeless and elegant designs that accentuate the feminine form and never go out of style, Chua’s Emmanuel Haute Couture label has been a prominent player in local bridal fashion industry in recent years.
Here, she unveiled some of her most stunning pieces from over the years, as well as new ones which are yet to be launched. With ample use of French lace, silk and chiffon, her bridal and evening gowns gleamed with an ethereal aura.
“While I play with various colours to bring out a lady’s beauty and try different cuts and drapings to create interesting silhouettes. At the heart of it is simplicity and class,” she says.
Hailing from Perlis, but calling Penang her home, Chua set up her boutique at Lorong Seratus Tahun in the heart of George Town in 2008 with partner and fashion photographer Joey Teoh. It was the fulfilment of a lifelong dream.
For this fashion designer, an outfit – be it a stylish men’s suit, elaborate cheongsam, chic party dress or head-turning bridal gown – should always reflect the person and make a statement.
Gorgeous pieces from his Keith Kee Couture 2015 collection, themed Poetry in Spring, enlivened the runway. With kaleidoscopic pastel colours, intricate detailing and sensual silhouettes, they captivated the imagination of the crowd.
“Nowadays, there are many negative things happening in society. So I wanted to inject some energy and sprightliness into this season’s collection, and bring some uplifting cheer to the wearer,” said Kee.
Driven by a desire to bring out the sensuality and elegance of the wearer, Yong strives to ensure his dresses are perfectly cut and detailed to accentuate the wearer’s qualities.
He featured two line-ups, the Spring/Summer 2015 characterised by bright colours and floral motifs in tune with the season, as well as the Fall/Winter 2016 which had a more muted scheme, but made use of sharp contrasts for a trendy, modern aesthetic.
“In today’s society, women play an equally important role, and my creations are designed to bring out their strength and confidence.
“I didn’t use flowers much in my previous collections, and thought this would be a great time to do so. I cut floral print fabrics, and pieced them together like a puzzle. Together with leather, it creates a better visual impact.”
⇒ The Star was the official media partner of Penang Fashion Week.