Penang strutting into the spotlight

Grace (second left), known for her role in martial arts TV dramas, leads (from right) Chun Wai, Choo, Ho and Chinese TV host Steven An in a kungfu pose during the Opening Gala of Penang Fashion Week at Gurney Paragon Mall.

PENANG Fashion Week 2017’s Opening Gala at Gurney Paragon Mall shone the spotlight on the latest trends in the presence of industry glitterati.

A series of catwalk shows by international and homegrown designers thrilled the large crowd gathered at the shopping centre’s cavernous atrium.

They were in the illustrious company of world-renowned Malaysian fashion icon Datuk Jimmy Choo and Hong Kong TVB celebrity Grace Wong.

Also gracing the event on Saturday were Star Media Group managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, TV celebrities and industry players.

Eyes were fixed on the verdant catwalk and backdrop for the opening session where models showed off unique handbags from Taiwanese designer Illiza Ho’s new Migration collection.

Up next were catwalk showsfeaturing Hong Kong designer Richard Li’s Chic Voyage collection that offered fashion for jetsetting and Myanmarese designer Mo Hom’s Colourful Summer series that incorporated traditional fabrics like Acheik.

Malaysian designers Eric Choong and Bon Zainal completed the lineup with the avant garde Listen to the Flowers and Asian inspired Katana collections respectively.

Throughout the night, guests were treated to a buffet and free flow of drinks.

Also present was state Tourism Development Committee chairman Danny Law.

Speaking to The Star earlier, Choo opined that the Penang Fashion Week was gaining increasing prominence worldwide. It was recently featured in an airline magazine, bringing it to the attention of countless travellers abroad.

And as a true blue Penangnite, Choo was only too happy to leverage on his fame and pulling power to generate even more exposure for the event now in its third year.

“No matter how busy I am, I will always make time to return for this. Because it is important that everyone pulls together and supports each other.

“We have lots of talented designers here. All they need is a stage to showcase their creations to the public. When they’re successful, it benefits various stakeholders.

“Besides boosting the local retail and fashion industries, events like this also show that Penang has more to offer besides food and heritage,” he said.

Grace, best known for her roles in martial arts TV dramas, believes that Penang’s laid-back nature offers talents an ideal environment to flourish.

“In places like New York or Hong Kong, you have to be very loud to get noticed.

“It is more relaxed here but there is still a good appreciation for art and artistic endeavours.

“Every city should have its own fashion week for each has a distinct culture, colour and coolness,” she added.

The actress, who spoke impeccable English, also launched her own DearestGrace accessories outlet at the mall earlier in the day.

Buoyed by the event’s success, Hunza Group executive director Khor Tze Ming pledged to make it even bigger in coming years by bringing in more brands and talents.

“From a local event, it grew to one of international standard. Right after we finished the first edition, we received many calls from designers who wanted to be a part of it.

“Much of this is down to the tremendous support we received from sponsors, partners, designers and the state government.

“We invested a lot into it but it ultimately benefits the mall and local economy. Many people fly in from other countries not only to watch the shows but also to buy other things,” she said.

Yesterday, Penang-born designer Keith Kee unveiled his Snow White collection inspired by a recent trip to Iceland. He incorporated no less than 20 different fabrics.

“I gazed upon snowy mountain tops from afar in Iceland. All was pristine white, so pure and magical. The sun shimmered through the ice, revealing unique natural textures,” said Kee.

“This collection is my vision of angels frolicking in winter cold.”

Models later emerged in winter wear and carried luggage from English brand Cosas United, which comes under the Rofina Group of Companies.

That was followed by another session featuring the stylish creations of students from fashion design school ESMOD Kuala Lumpur – The One Academy.

The weekend’s programme wrapped up with a show by fashion blogger Christinna Kuan who highlighted her Street Wear collection.

For more on Penang Fashion Week which ends on April 23, visit or look up the mall’s Facebook page.

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