Sun, 27 Apr 2003

Dazzling debut for KL Fashion Week

The Star, Asia News Network, Kuala Lumpur

It was a fitting start to the inaugural KL Fashion Week that promises more thrills and eye-openers for the uninitiated as well as aficionados.

Accolades were heaped on Wednesday's show - the Secretaries "Unplugged!" Luncheon - which "played" to a full house of over 1,200 people including VIPs and celebrities.

The Mandarin Oriental's grand ballroom came alive with music and larger-than-life posters of the Fashion Week's models gazing down on them, while all eyes were glued to the white catwalk for the much-awaited fashion showcase.

As soon as the starter for the eight-course lunch was served, the lights dimmed and emcees Richard Ng and Shazmin Shamsuddin introduced local designer Carven Ong's latest multi-ethnic fusion creations.

Accompanied by upbeat music and with multi-colored lights playing on the white backdrop, a model strutted down the catwalk clad in a swimsuit-like cheongsam and an exaggerated satin turban.

Over 2,000 people feasting their eyes on the creme la creme of the local fashion industry at the Mandarin Oriental in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday.

All eyes turned to her. More followed, with costumes both bold and playful from Ong's collection, made up of contemporary interpretations of the cheongsam and the kebaya.

Ong's Swing Out, Sister collection was followed by local songbird Camelia, who dished out a mixed selection of English and Malay songs.

Edmund Ser's smart office wear collection came next. It reflected his ability to transform plain suits with a twist of funkiness, yet keeping them wearable.

The grand finale from Beatrice Looi was a hit among the women in the audience, who loved her white evening wear with lots of lace and tassels and her orange-hued collection.

Guest-of-honor Endon Mahmood, wife of acting Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, was impressed and singled out Ong's interpretation of the kebaya - a series of sheer, lacy and feminine tops matched with a variety of mini-skirts made of ostrich feathers, glittering shorts and flowing gowns.

"I think our local designers can go international," said Endon at the end of the show.

Malaysian international designer Jimmy Choo said the designs, cut and use of fabric by all the three designers were "very advanced."

"This is a show comparable to international standards. I sincerely feel that they (the designers) are fabulous in applying the patterns and cut to the right choice of fabric.''

Ena Ling, wife of Transport Minister Dr Ling Liong Sik, described the glamorous start to the KL Fashion Week as "fantastic."

"The event will certainly lift everyone's spirits, especially with everything that has been going on, including the SARS breakout," she said, adding that the fashion parade was an "eye- opener" to how good local talents were.

The luncheon kicked off a five-day fashion extravaganza which will run until Sunday.

Three workshops, "All Tied Up", "Glitter and Dazzle" and "Image Maker" were organized during the fashion week.