Bernard Chandran’s Hari Raya collection is an exercise in luxurious excess, writes Aznim Ruhana Md Yusup.
DESIGNER Bernard Chandran seems to occupy a space of his own in the Malaysian fashion scene. He’s built a reputation for intricate and fascinating creations, as well as impeccable workmanship.
His fabrics are vividly-coloured and rich in texture. Minimalist he is not. His designs tend to be as sparkling as his clientele.
His most recent Hari Raya collection is no different. Named Nouveau Petang Raya, it was presented in the opulence of the St Regis hotel and attended by royalty.
Guests walking into the ballroom are welcomed by mannequins clothed in last year’s Petang Raya collection, its beautiful detailing up for scrutiny and close inspection.
Meanwhile, the current Petang Raya showcase is a celebration of style influences of 1950s, 60s and 70s.
Chandran worked with specific design conventions from these decades, and recreated them into modern versions of the baju kurung. He also played with graphic prints and channelled the glamour of yesteryear heroines.
From the Press release, Chandran says, “I am like a time traveller and going back to these eras where people are more embracing, fun and positive with a free-spirited vibe. I am inspired by our own iconic and stylish Malay celebrities like Mariam Ismail, Saloma, Saadiah and even Rahimah Alias who were like the Faye Dunaways of our world.”
With these influences in mind, Chandran showed short baju Kedah with pockets and kurung tops with tulle layers and embellished peplums. A hooded top and trousers ensemble in neon green barely meets the standard baju kurung look, except for the fabric sewn to the front and back of the pants.
Another kurung top is designed like an asymmetrical poncho, while another comes in diaphanous fabric and worn over a strapless dress.
Some sarongs are tiered, and Chandran does a lot of long jackets as well, in pink stripes, embroidered royal yellow and even denim. The only conventional-looking outfit is a beaded kebaya in blue.
Meanwhile, his designs for men include baju Melayu cut like a sports jacket, worn with lustrous, iridescent sampin. There are also long overcoats and jubah-like robes.
Overall, Chandran’s Hari Raya is colourful and shiny, and his clothes are unabashedly ostentatious, done in a way like only he can.