Malaysia International Fashion Week in Kuala Lumpur. By Glenn Belverio

Above: A day without Malay man candy is like a day without sunshine

Dear Shaded Viewers,

Last week I was in the lovely, sub-tropical city of Kuala Lumpur for the 9th edition of Malaysia International Fashion Week. The catwalk featured collections by both established and emerging designers from Southeast Asia and other parts of Asia, with looks running the gamut from Muslim modesty to gothic gender-bending. While there was an over-proliferation of overwrought gowns replete with tiered ruffles (which make me break out in hives), sequins and outsized floral appliques, there were some pleasing experimental endeavors and sexy minimalism.



“Gothic architecture” was the theme of this collection presented during the young designers showcase.




I really liked these two looks from TAR College graduates.


There were some entertaining and hilarious musical interludes between collections which demonstrated what a truly gay city KL is.

Glam Lelaki showcase




A shoe designer devised a clever way to show off her footwear on the catwalk….


This musical interlude by “The Freak Show” (really, I’m not making this up) featured a spritely queen (center) wearing about 12 pounds of makeup vogueing to a Madonna mash-up of “4 Minutes” and–surprise!–“Vogue.”


Probably the most famous designer to show at MIFW was KL-born Bernard Chandran who launched his line in 1993. The collection was tasteful and chic, if a bit boring, but I really liked these gold and pink ensembles.


Founder of WestEast Magazine, Kevin Lee, Syeba Yip who designed Zebra Square where the shows were held, and me. I worked with Kevin on WestEast in Hong Kong and Shangai and elsewhere in Asia from 2002 – 2004 and it was really great to see him again!


There was an after-party for Bernard Chandran at the Area 27 T-Shirt Installation with terrific music. DJ Melissa of PopMuseSic is hot! She designs a t-shirt line with her friend DJ Nadia.


I loved this durian tee…..unfortunately I didn’t get to eat any of the King of Fruit on this trip.


Regnum Lapideum showed relaxed linens with powdered and bandaged feet.




Benson Chen showed subtly sexy menswear but he’s also known as an up-and-coming women’s shoe designer.


Benson Chen (center)


A look from Hyde



Believe or not, this shot is from the Bridal Glitz showcase. This show was for the jewelry of Suhara Jewel Art. I half-expected the model emerging from the cocoon to transmorph into Mothra.


For those of you who think women in all Muslim countries are required to cover up, take note. These go-go gals were advertising a watch brand, I believe.


Getting creative on a budget: tin foil masks at Jovian Mandagie.


I finally met fellow Shaded contributor Philippe Pourhashemi and we had a blast! Here we are trying to beat the heat and humidity in the quasi-VIP lounge.


KL has lots of beautiful Islamic architecture. Here’s the train station that’s next to the National Mosque.


Philippe and I had some savory Indian food after a long walk through downtown and I opted for the vegetarian options.


We also took a visit to the Butterfly Park in the Lake Gardens near our hotel, the KL Hilton.


Another view of the Butterfly Park…

Finally, I can’t resist sharing some early 1950s “Southeast Asian” fashion, courtesy of Dorothy Lamour in “The Road to Bali”:


Thanks for reading.

More from Malaysia Fashion Week:

My report on the Islamic Fashion Festival with a look back at l’affaire Miguel Adrover


Glenn Belverio


Glenn Belverio

Glenn Belverio is a writer and New Yorker. He has been reporting for ASVOF since 2005 and currently works at The Museum of Modern Art as the Content Manager for MoMA Design Store.

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