Fashion

Published: Wednesday August 27, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday August 27, 2014 MYT 11:26:13 AM

The abaya is a stylish cover-up

A fashion statement: Hidaya’s abayas styled with boots, shoes, accessories and clutches from the lifestyle brand.

A fashion statement: Hidaya’s abayas styled with boots, shoes, accessories and clutches from the lifestyle brand.

The traditional abaya gets a contemporary and glamorous update.

Malaysia's first ever high fashion label for abayas – Hidaya International – made its debut recently with the launch of its pioneer collection, Amira.

A home-grown brand, Hidaya abayas and accessories are produced in Abu Dhabi and Dubai but Malaysians are offered the first chance to own a custom-made Hidaya abaya.

Abaya is a black robe which is the cultural dress of the Middle East and also a garment worn by Muslims.

Owner and creative developer, Toh Puan Seri Hidayah Wan Ismail said of her namesake label: “Hidaya is for the woman who knows what she deserves and is ready to celebrate all that she is.”

Abaya with delicate and intricate gold detailing at the borders and sheer netting at the feet.
Abaya with delicate and intricate gold detailing at the borders and sheer netting at the feet.

Hidaya’s fashion lifestyle philosophy is to enable the Muslim woman to step out in confidence without compromising her faith or style.

The concept of the line, while adhering to cultural requirements of modest dressing in the Middle East and other Muslim countries, is vast enough to appeal to non-Muslims looking for stylish and modest clothing.

“In the Middle East, women wear their abayas with pride. It is very different from how women in Malaysia perceive the abaya,” she said.

The debut collection, Amira, means princess in Arabic. Hidaya believes that within every woman, is a princess whose spirit and versatility needs to be expressed.

Gold weaving on the sleeves and vertically down the back.
Gold weaving on the sleeves and vertically down the back.

It is through the abayas that passion is expressed in style and sophistication: “Her form embraces her substance. The Hidaya woman doesn’t hide her substance; she celebrates it.”

Consisting of 16 designs, each custom-made abaya illustrates the essence of tradition with interpretations beautifully expressed through the exquisite designs. Exploring a variety of materials, playing with chiffon, lace, tulle and crystals, the Amira collection is about introducing as many forms and silhouettes to the basic black abaya.

“There are three different sizes available which are medium, petite and regular and all of this is based on height. As for cuts, I have introduced a finely made bias cut abaya, the empireline abaya and the French cut abaya while keeping a few pieces of the traditional straight cut abaya. I want to show that modest dressing doesn’t have to be dowdy. One can dress respectably and modestly, and still let her inner fashionista shine through.”

As for colour, Hidayah explains that the abaya is always and only in black.

Toh Puan Seri Hidayah Wan Ismail, owner and creative developer of Hidaya International.
Toh Puan Seri Hidayah Wan Ismail, owner and creative developer of Hidaya International.

“Abayas must be black, The whole idea of the Abayas is that you are subdued. You are not loud or out to catch attention. You can use colours, but then it is not considered an abaya but a kaftan instead.”

As to inspiration, she wasn’t able to pinpoint where it came from exactly but over the last few days, a few friends have commented that the collection is very much like her.

“With that, I guess one could say that my inspiration came from my travels, the stuff that I like and, in essence, the things that speak to me in a fashionable way. Islam is beautiful and you can be fashionable or modest and still look good. I personally wear an abaya all the time, too.”

Hidaya will be making its debut on fashion runways in Dubai and London very soon. It is set to hit the international fashion markets in January 2015 with new outlets in Dubai, London and Paris.

Black abaya with beautiful gold lace bordering the sleeves and hem.

Describing the collection in just three words, Hidayah said: “‘Obey in style’ as when one covers up their curves, they are obeying God.”

Apart from global domination, Hidayah says she hopes to explore into other things like Hidaya Casa, which will be interior design and events.

“We want to show people that Malaysia not only boleh (do) but also Malaysia buat (make). In this day and age, especially with the progress of social media, it’s all about what the West is doing and how to emulate the West. Now lets turn the tables and have them follow us for a change.”

Hidaya International custom made abayas can be ordered online via www.hidayainternational.com and are also available for exclusive viewing by private appointment. Prices range from RM900 onwards. All abayas come with the veil that mimics the detail of the custom ordered Abaya.


Tags / Keywords: Life & Style, abayas, high end, fashionable

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