Colour and pizzaz

There’s more to the Islamic dress than just black robes. 

THE recently concluded Kuala Lumpur-Jakarta-Dubai Islamic Fashion Festival (IFF) was proof of an Islamic fashion renaissance. The runways at the tri-country fashion event were bursting with colour, with traditional garments like the burqa, jibab and abaya being transformed from drab to dramatic. 

Couture cut: Making a grandentrance in Islamic high fashion.

The festival, an attempt to turn Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Dubai into Islamic fashion capitals, attracted top designers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Among them were Malaysia’s Datuk Tom Abang Saufi and Radzuan Radziwill, Indonesian designer Ghea Panggabean, Pakistani Deepak Perwani and UAE’s Shabana Asif.  

The final leg of the event in Dubai was held on March 30 in the presence of the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah. 

Also present was patron of IFF, Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, who said: “Since the inception of the IFF in 2006, we have held two successful events in Kuala Lumpur and one in Jakarta. We have now taken it to Dubai because it is time to spread our wings and take Islamic fashion into the mainstream.” 

The garments included ethnic wear, gowns, tunics, trousers, abayas, sarongs and even swimwear. There was even a collection for Muslim men.  

Indonesian designer Samuel Wattimena’s Exquisite Colours of Heritage was definitely a collection for bold and confident men. Samuel combined bright and bold colours, patterns and embroidery techniques to come up with an eye-catching collection that stood out.  

Lacy days: Longovercoat overankle-lengthtunic and pants.

Iva Latifah’s Nature of Emotion collection was based on the four elements: water, earth, wind and fire which she expressed through a colour palette of shades of brown, orange, green, black, red and grey.  

Iva combined flower motifs, traditional batik and very modern geometric designs to make her collection uniquely “contemporary and traditional”. Techniques she employed included patchwork, stacking, wrinkling and embroidery on chiffon, silks, organdie and cotton. 

Another interesting collection was that of Yanna Diah Kusumawati. Themed Elegance at the Terrace, Yanna was inspired by the modern Muslimah, and maintained simple lines in the collection which she described as “casual elegance mixed with tradition and style”. 

She used mainly natural material which she ingenuously mixed and matched. Accessories used to accentuate her look were wearable and edgy. 

Malaysian designer Carven Ong, well known for his elaborate bridal and ball gowns, translated the essence of his style into his collection.  

Ong’s collection, The Romanticism, was a display of modest but stunning creations for Muslim women, combining a palette of pastels with bright hues on chiffon, organza and lace. The result: flowing and feminine gowns that were modest yet stylish.  

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Datuk Tom Abang Saufi, in her St Tropez collection, showcased beautiful, elegant and modest garments for women, all of which have always been Tom’s forte. It wasn’t a surprise then that her collection at the IFF was a stand out.  

Drawing inspiration from international glamour queens and jetsetters like Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly, Tom came up with St Tropez, which spelt fun and glamour.  

Not to be forgotten is Melinda Looi whose Rich Tribes collection was eclectic and unique.  

Looi said she wanted to take fashionista’s on “a journey back to yesteryear”, where peace, innocence and tradition prevailed.  

She combined world tribal elements to create a collection that was both simple but rich. The collection is aimed at getting us to go back to our roots. 

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