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The oriental chic

Five Lunar New Year collections by Malaysian fashion designers to play dress-up during this festive season

25 Jan 2021 / 12:01 H.

WE are going to be celebrating the Lunar New Year very differently and much quieter than we would prefer this year, while yearning for the slightest glimmer of hope and light at the end of the tunnel following a tumultuous 2020.

Nonetheless, Malaysian designers continue to uphold the festive spirit so that you can celebrate the Lunar New Year and dress up in style.

Friesenguys. – PICTURE COURTESY OF ISETAN
Friesenguys. – PICTURE COURTESY OF ISETAN

Friesenguys

This brainchild of young designer Edie Chung presents the label’s first holiday capsule collection for the 2021 Lunar New Year ahead, which has turned out to be quite the opposite from its usual idiosyncrasies supercharged by specific stories or feelings.

However, the festive collection celebrates, or rather, subverts the traditional Chinese fashion sensibilities by marrying exquisite brocades with the polished and sophisticated silhouettes of the cheongsam, but with more rebellious and playful artistry.

Shimmering prints and motifs of ethereal dragons, butterflies and bursts of floral blooms adorn the voluminous dresses with controlled flair, while lace and floral encrusted knee-high socks are paired alongside it to put a whimsical spin on traditional dress sense.

Ecesis.
Ecesis.

Ecesis

The acclaimed designers Paul Wee and Thomas Chin have come a long way since the inception of their womenswear label in 2001. To celebrate Ecesis’ two dynamic decades in the Malaysian fashion scene, they have created a lavish anniversary collection to ring in the Lunar New Year.

The collection inspired by the best of Ecesis’ 10-year archives were revived in opulent details and at the same time, the designers struck a balance between Chinese craftsmanship with Western charm in a harmonious blend through contemporary pattern-making with ruffles, pleats and gathering.

The journey through 10 years of myriad inspiration includes the exploration of the old-school era, precious silk fabrications, body-hugging silhouettes with high-slits, mandarin collar alternatives and bold clashes of print embellishments – all underpinned by the quintessential Ecesis glamour.

byMeiChi.
byMeiChi.

byMeiChi

Fashion designer Phoon Mei Chi, who initially started her namesake brand in 2009 as a ready-to-wear label has now, after 12 successful years, expanded into making bridalwear, bespoke and couture pieces. Her latest Spring/Summer 2021 collection titled Anthesis: Onset of a Period of Blossoming conjugates with the festivity ahead.

“Anthesis” describes the flowering period of a plant, signifying hope and joy.

Phoon said: “In a time where change is the only constant, it is a reflection of how it has brought us unexpected growth, and our ability to adapt and our tenacity to go on.”

Here in the 13-piece collection, where form meets function and femininity meets modernity, tradition has been given a contemporary facelift, by way of asymmetric mandarin collars, dramatic puffed-up sleeve, and diagonal cut onto the silhouette of the cheongsam to accentuate the feminine form even more.

Luxurious satin and jacquard fabrics in Spring colourways mirrors fresh blooms, while delicate lace embroideries combined with flowy tulle gives an unexpected finish to the dresses.

The Woman of Yee.
The Woman of Yee.

The Woman of Yee

Womenswear designer Tan Wan Yee channelled a great deal of oriental grandeur that is impossible to miss in her 2021 Lunar New Year collection, including a lineup of feminine dresses with a handbag to boot.

In the collection, Tan pays homage to Malaysian cultures using batik prints in several of her designs, while replacing the Chinese knotted frog buttons with intricately designed ones shaped in tapioca cookies (kuih bangkit) silhouette.

Elsewhere beyond the decorative and expressive embellishments on traditional dresses, she also emphasised on the values attached to Chinese art and cultural symbolisms such as flowers, animals and mythical creatures, bringing forth allusions of longevity, wealth, power and strength.

Yuleza.
Yuleza.

Yuleza

Bright and auspicious colours run high in Yuleza’s first-ever Lunar New Year capsule collection to rid us of bad vibes as we usher in the Year of the Ox with grace and poise.

Creative director Tan You Sheng of the luxury womenswear label hold traditional cheongsams true to their enduring appeal with understated elegance imbued with contemporary aesthetics. He uses predominantly taffeta throughout the whole collection, giving it the voluminous allure that is best befitting of the extravagant fabric.

From classic cheongsam to puff-sleeved blouses and multi-tiered dresses in bold and broad stripes for women, men are also in for a treat with identical stripe patterns – marking Yuleza’s first foray into menswear.

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