Fashion stylist Min Luna on what it takes to dress Malaysia's biggest stars

She grew up not caring about fashion at all, but now it is integral in her life and career. Min Luna certainly has witnessed an about turn in where her passion lies.

Curating specific looks for Malaysian celebrities, she has an astute eye for all things trendy. Her bold clothing picks help her clients stand out – on the red carpet, as well as on screen and magazine covers.

These celebrity clients include the likes of Datuk Sri Siti Nurhaliza, Datuk Sheila Majid, Ella, Neelofa, Ziana Zain, Scha Alyahya, Awal Ashaari, Remy Ishak, Sharifah Amani, Syafiq Kyle and Nabila Huda.

Yet, the 35-year-old Min does not forget her roots. Raised in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, she remembers how she was just a girl who could never afford the nice dresses that her friends had.

Min Luna
Min Luna debuted with her own ready-to-wear collection for Fashion Valet last year. Photo: The Star/Yap Chee Hong

“I couldn’t fit in any ‘box’, ever since my schooldays and throughout my university years. I was never the smartest nor the most athletic. I never had enough confidence or courage to believe in myself,” Min relates.

“When I joined a magazine, that changed. One of my jobs at that time was to assist in styling the cover girls. Then, I moved on to helping celebrities with their visual branding, making their TV, film, commercial or red carpet appearance more inspiring.”

Today, Min is also the creative director of three in-house labels at Malaysian retailer FashionValet. You can say that she is living and breathing fashion. Or as she so dramatically puts it: “My thirst for fashion is now a bottomless pit that will never be filled.”

According to her, stylists are the “musketeers of fashion”. Their ultimate goal is to make a person’s style memorable for a good reason. She also says that iconic looks can make history.

“A look with a strong visual impact that doesn’t miss the point is a look that will collect a storm of flattering comments. Without a stylist, it is almost impossible to create this kind of buzz,” Min explains.

She points out that there are many challenges she faces in her job. A stylist does not just work within a creative scope, but he or she needs to be good in other aspects as well.

“The biggest misconception people have about my work is that it’s glamorous and easy. It’s not. You have to be a people person, you have to be organised, you have to not lose things. You have to not give up.”

Min Luna's designs at Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week 2018.

'Fashion Is Built On The Stuff Of Dreams'

Min presented her own fashion collection, named Not Fragile, just last year. With a debut at Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week (KLFW) under FashionValet, she aimed to empower women in every aspect – building their confidence, strength, attitude and self-esteem.

“Being named as the ‘Rising Influential Entrepreneur Of The Year’ during KLFW, that’s when I realised I’ve made a significant mark in the local fashion scene.”She calls that moment her “most magical”.

Min attributes her success to the design team that helped in completing the pieces. While she has consulted for designers before this, putting together her own collection was apparently a different ball game.

Min Luna
Min Luna styling Ella for Anugerah Planet Muzik 2017.

“It’s tough when you want to introduce new shapes and colours, but unsure whether it will sell. But if you don’t push the envelope, the pieces will be uninspiring,” she notes about balancing the retail and creative aspects of design.

Some of her current favourite fashion designers are Sies Marjan, Attico, Ambush and Michael Lo Sordo. She also follows and observes closely the creative universe of Virgil Abloh, Raf Simons and Dries Van Noten.

Regarding Malaysian fashion, Min says that it is a tricky situation. There is a decline in global fashion, and she questions what the local industry’s players can promise and offer to consumers.

“Fashion is built on the stuff of dreams,” Min states, saying, “The opportunity for creativity and innovative entrepreneurialism is endless, but do we have enough spectators in Malaysia to build this mega dreams?”

On advice for styling oneself, especially when it comes to creating a capsule wardrobe (which is a big trend right now), she points out, “Never ever wear your fashion items in just one way.

“I’ve always improvised the use of clothes to create new silhouettes. Choose pieces that are timeless. It helps when pairing them with something new from your closet.”

Min says that you have to think outside the box and style the clothes you have in different ways. A simple shirt can be worn backwards for example, or maybe even as a skirt.

“Get a cool jacket to transform any mundane look, a killer statement earrings to wear with your everyday white loose shirt and a pair of fun shoes to dance in!” she enthuses.

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