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Thursday October 10, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday October 10, 2013 MYT 5:11:31 AM
by wan hua chapouthier
Demure beauty: Islamic fashion on the runway in Paris.
The Islamic Fashion Festival – and its founder – were feted at a showcase in Paris.
WITH a theme that centred around femininity, elegance and modesty, Islamic Fashion Festival (IFF) held a showcase in Paris last month at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel George V.
The lunch event was attended by members of the media and 200 invited guests.
I was looking out for famous faces and the elements that would make this event an elegant showcase of clothes for Muslim women.
Overall, it was a refreshing change from the usual line up of haute couture and ready-to-wear shows in Paris where creations are paraded under categories like daywear and evening wear.
At the IFF, everyone in the audience was captivated, from the first to the last ensemble on the runway. What was showcased was indeed different and very elegant.
Designer Hodda Haddad from Morocco presented full-length apparel in one colour, complemented by pretty, artful headgear which was a combination of a full brim hat and a scarf that fits both head and neck.
From Malaysia, the renowned Datuk Tom Abang Saufi, and the young but promising Paris-based Jonathan Liang, took part in this presentation. Also participating were Ghea Panggabean from Indonesia and Hindi Mahdi from Palestine.
There was an astute use of black; the colour looked so beautiful. Liang, with his ever-present black bow, gave a young and almost girlish touch to traditional headgear.
But when Tom Abang Saufi sent her models out, the white runway was splashed with bright red, crimson and fuchsia. One can wear her clothes day or night and still stay conspicuously elegant.
Ghea Panggabean, the designer from Indonesia, used music that evoked a Balinese dance. The graceful gestures of the models was different and a stark contrast from the quick-tempo, and sometimes, loud and pounding music at Parisian fashion shows.
In between presentations, there was a rendition of Italian opera by two professional singers. That too made a difference, coming across as a sweet surprise as I was enjoying my dessert.
Although the creations focused mainly on clothes for women, there was a lone male model, who – on closer inspection – turned out to be American actor Gary Dourdan (of TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation fame). He stole the thunder from the women in an edgy black outfit and a red rose in one hand.
At first, I mistook him for a handsome, bearded gladiator – albeit a thorn among the roses – but he was actually posing as a bridegroom.
Throughout lunch, there wasn’t a second of boredom; the IFF – which preceded the Paris Fashion week – was undoubtedly a success. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (who is IFF patron) conveyed messages of encouragement via video for the occasion.
There was also great pleasure in identifying the man-behind-the-scenes who orchestrated the show and made it happen, IFF founder and chairman, Datuk Raja Rezza Shah.
Behind his youthful looks and engaging smile, Rezza has the Midas touch. He possesses the mettle and tenacity to bring IFF to major fashion capitals of the world such as London, Singapore, Dubai, New York, and now, Paris, the fashion centre of the world.
Rezza was not only feted by fellow Malaysians in Paris but lauded by Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, the director general of Tourism Malaysia.
In his brief address, Mirza recalled how during IFF’s inception in Kuala Lumpur in 2006, Rezza faced an uphill battle, but his unrelenting efforts have paid off. Today, the IFF has firmly established itself in the fashion industry.
Gracing the occasion were Pahang’s Sultanah Hajah Kalsom, Raja Muda of Perlis Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail and Raja Puan Muda Perlis Tuanku Hajah Lailatul Shahreen Akashah Khalil.
Also present to provide moral support was Datuk Evelyne Genta, the head of the European Council for IFF, and the ambassador of Monaco to Britain and Kazakhstan. She had assisted in the realisation of IFF events in Monte Carlo and London, and is a steadfast believer of the objectives of IFF.
As the event was filled with much love and warmth, it was only befitting that the finale was the Carole King song You’ve Got A Friend that was sung in unison by all present.
Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, Islamic Fashion Festival, Paris
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