When celebration of local pride and a monumental international blockbuster converge.
When American Mary E. Vogt found out that she has landed the coveted job of dressing up the stars of Crazy Rich Asians the movie, she knew she needed to bring her A-game. Although having spent 25 years in the industry with movies like Batman Returns and the Men in Black series under her belt, she knew this was one task she would not be able to spearhead alone without the assistance of local experts with on-ground knowledge. She promptly enlisted Andrea Wong, former Editor in Chief of Elle Malaysia and Malaysian designer Raf Choo to aid her in creating a magical yet realistic Southeast Asian sartorial.
Local designers played an important part in bringing the book to life, lending their creativity and understanding of the local sense of clothing – light, colourful and simple with separates due to the tropical weather. In celebration of the movie’s release and our local talents making us proud, we’ve listed down 5 Malaysian designers whose works appeared in what is now a blockbuster.
Known for his wedding gowns, it was only apt that Carven Ong and his team fashioned the wedding dress that Araminta Lee, actress Sonoya Mizuno wore when she walked down the aquatic aisle. Making every bride-to-be’s dream come true since 1994, Carven Ong is known for his use of different materials and fabrics in his creations. For example, Araminta’s dress in the movie, which is designed by Ms Vogt herself, is made completely waterproof and required 30 people putting crystals on the dress for 3 weeks.
One of the few Southeast Asian atelier brands to be seen on the men in Crazy Rich Asians is Malaysian menswear boutique Wardrobe. Tailoring immaculate suits for the past 30 years now under Master Tailor Lim Fang Meng, Wardrobe also offers instant suit-making service at the comfort of your home. In the movie, lead actor Henry Goulding wears a linen suit by Wardrobe as he exits his mansion to welcome Constance Wu’s character, fully embracing his role as a young Southeast Asian heir.
Fellow Malaysian Ronnie Cheng had the privilege of wearing a plaid Lord’s Tailor number during his scene in the movie. Boasting over 40 years of experience in bespoke tailoring, the family-driven enterprise already has an extensive experience of dressing celebrities, including Muhammad Ali, Mel Gibson, and Shah Rukh Khan. In recent years Lord’s Tailor has also reached out to the younger generation through influencers under the creative direction of Kenny Loh, second generation family member in the business.
A local designer with a clear understanding of the local women she wants to dress, Alia Bastamam keeps her designs simple in order to highlight the clients’ “million-dollar jewels”. That would by now give you an idea of her clientele list – royals, socialites and other A-listers. In the movie, the romantic and feminine designs by the fashion house were mainly used to dress the crème of the crop guests who attended Araminta Lee’s extravagant wedding.
Leave it to Malaysian legend Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh to feature a local jeweller in the silver screen. Designs by Mandalay Jade & Ruby, another family-run business in the list that is overseen by three generations of women appear prominently on Eleanor Young, Tan Sri’s character in the movie. In fact, the jeweller was personally suggested by her, as she already owns many pieces from the design house.
Jumping in the Crazy Rich Asians bandwagon is local enterprise Duck Cosmetics, who has collaborated with Warner Bros to create a makeup set based on the best-selling novel and movie. Called the Duck Beauty Chapter Set, the new collection features eyeshadow palette, primer, and lipstick among others. The set retails for RM350 and is available at Duck Cosmetics store in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and Suria KLCC, all FashionValet stores and online.
Of course, it would be crazy to think that any rich Asian would limit themself to only local brands. We’ve selected 5 luxurious items any “comfortable” Asian would have when travelling here.
*All images by Warner Bros. Entertainment.
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