Malaysian designers create gorgeous outfits IRL for Disney princesses

  • Style
  • Monday, 29 Nov 2021

Fashion plays a large role in the magic of Disney princesses. Pictured here are designs by (left to right) Leslie Variyan, Celeste Thoi, and designer duo Hafizi Radzi Woo and Izree Kai Hafiz. Photo: Disney

When thinking of Disney cartoons, magic often comes to mind. There is another beautiful element to the animations though – and that is, fashion.

A group of Malaysian designers recently created a show-stopping collection inspired by their favourite Disney princesses.

This is part of a charity initiative where the pieces will be auctioned off and proceeds go to Make-A-Wish Malaysia.

Leslie Variyan of Variante says a garment reflective of a Disney princess should embody her characteristics and invoke her sense of style.

“I would love to imagine that it would also fit into the setting of the story, for example allowing her to carry out her duties with comfort and ease, and remain regal, while being perfect for going on adventures.”

Read more: Malaysian fashion returns to life with physical runway shows

His creation is all that, and more.

Leslie designed a cool jumpsuit inspired by his favourite character, Anna from Frozen. He calls her “energetic” and “always on the go”.

“She represents loyalty, strength, courage and kindness, which I think all of us should strive to accomplish. She also reminds me that we should try to do what’s right and that you can always be kind in everything that you do.”

Celeste Thoi however, looked to Aurora and Cinderella for inspiration. She created two dresses, which have an ethereal and magical feel to them.

“Disney princesses have always set the stage for being inspiring heroes who overcome hardships by believing in themselves and their dreams,” she notes, about how people of all generations can continue to relate to the characters.

“Their silhouettes become iconic and much loved – in other words, each Disney princess’ look has become an extension of her personality and reflects the journey she’s on.”

While she now has a soft spot for various characters, Thoi grew up adoring Cinderella. She thinks the princess is brave and has a positive attitude and kind heart.

“She triumphs in the end, achieving her dreams – which young kid doesn’t love that story? Her story is so classic and I love how she worked hard to reach her dreams.”

Inspired by Ariel becoming human and walking on land for the first time, Hafizi Radzi Woo and Izree Kai Hafiz of Fiziwoo created a dress from heavy cotton linen. It resembles her makeshift outfit in that particular scene. Embellishments include pleating to echo shell-like lines.

The duo points out that they have always been intrigued by Ariel, as she is part human and part fish. She is able to live two very different lives, which says a lot about her penchant for adventures.

Their unconventional design is seen as an embodiment of the character’s courage – ready to stand for what she wants, with fierce resilience to get out of her bubble and explore new worlds.

Other notable Malaysian designers who also designed a princess outfit include Alia Bastamam, Izrin Ismail of Innai Red, Khoon Hooi, Melinda Looi and Nurul Zulkifli of Mimpikita.

They celebrated characters like Pocahontas, Ariel, Moana, Belle, Rapunzel, Snow White, Mulan, Elsa and Jasmine, but reinterpreted in their respective fashion points of view.

Read more: The Malaysian style industry embraces pink to support breast cancer awareness

The charity auction, of which the online registration to participate ends Dec 8, runs in conjunction with the Ultimate Princess Celebration. This is a global extravaganza spotlighting the courage and kindness that Disney inspires in fans all around the world.

Selangor Princess Tengku Zatashah Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, who is royal patron of Make-A-Wish Malaysia, believes that the celebration embodies important values: finding strength in oneself, staying fearless in the face of adversity and, above all, being kind in thought, word and deed.

“Many of us grew up with Disney princesses and they still resonate in Malaysia today. Their universally relatable stories inspire folks from all backgrounds to be their authentic selves and impact the world through actions big and small,” reads her statement to the press.

Globally, Disney has worked with Make-A-Wish for over 40 years, granting more than 145,000 life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses worldwide.

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