KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — Once again, the lunar new year is upon us.
As we spring into the Year of the Rabbit and away from the bleakness of pandemic and quarantine, we find ourselves back in high spirits and scrambling to answer the all-important question - what to wear for the new year?
While some fashion labels place emphasis on non-traditional colours and others on whimsical details like feather trim, it’s safe to say that all are on constant lookout for fresh modern takes on a traditional classic.
So, who’s got the best updated look for Chinese New Year? Here are five homegrown brands and their festive offerings.
For Mell, think unisex casual chic wear, suitable for office or drinks after work. — Picture courtesy of Melinda Looi
Mell is back, and just in time for Chinese New Year too!
Launched in 2003, Mell is the more accessible ready-to-wear line under the Melinda Looi designer brand family. In 2009, Mell ceased operations due to a surge in rental rates but now it’s back, much to the delight of Looi's fans and customers.
"Nowadays, people don’t just want designer wear but affordable designer wear,” Looi said.
"I still use good quality material even if I can’t use high-end Melinda Looi material," she told Malay Mail at the re-launch of Mell at Parkson Pavilion recently.
Mell incorporates pieces that are fun and easy to wear. Think unisex casual chic wear, equally suitable for office or drinks after office.
Bright colours are evident in the flamingo orange pleated skirt matched with a bold print top, as well as a lapis lazuli blue cropped top worn with fire-engine red palazzo pants.
Also on offer are a range of jacquard and brocade qipaos and signature batik cheongsam dresses.
For more details, visit https://melindalooi.com/.
From Behati, eye-catching qipao dragon motif top with puffy sleeves and mini skirt. — Picture courtesy of Behati
What’s not to love about Behati? The label is fun, colourful and multi-cultural, with its selection of bubble gum pink cheongsam corset mini dresses and cropped brocade qipao tops paired with mini skirt.
If skirts aren’t your thing, rock the look with cargo pants, jeans or denim shorts.
Continuing its oversized theme from previous collections, men can choose from magua, li bai and tang tops but in a wider variety of colours and bigger buttons.
Other highlights include a maroon hanfu cape dress, tang top with functional pockets and Qing Hua blue and white porcelain motif on tops and shorts.
Surf over to https://behati.my/ for more information.
From Khoon Hooi, CNY offerings include the Li Qui (left) and Wan Qian, a fitted brocade dress with detachable crystal embellished cape. — Picture courtesy of Khoon Hooi
Classic looks are updated at Khoon Hooi with modern touches and dramatic twists that are a delight to gaze upon.
There’s the Mei Hui, a polka dot qipao adorned with ostrich feathers. Other key looks include the Li Qui, a velvet chiffon long-sleeved top with Mandarin collar paired with straight-cut pants and the Wan Qian, a fitted brocade dress with detachable crystal embellished cape.
Let's not forget the Xui Ying, a trumpet dress with flirty drop waist featuring a two-tone design made up of geometric lace and textured brocade.
For menswear, the designer offers reversible satin samfu tops in soothing colour combos.
For more information, visit https://khoonhooi.com/.
Elegant brocade qipao with asymmetrical ruffles from Maarimaia. — Picture courtesy of Maarimaia
If the brocade skirt and qipao combo is your favourite, then you’re spoilt for choice with this brand's ready-to-wear collection.
The midi pencil skirt is cut from thick woven brocade and has a slit at the back as well as a high waist band that clinches.
For its first bespoke collection, which was just introduced this year, there’s more luxurious brocade on offer.
Choose from updated qipaos with asymmetrical ruffles and feathers, mini cheongsams with cut outs and traditional A-line silhouette qipaos. A total of 11 looks are available and can be customised to each customer’s preference.
Visit https://maarimaia.com/ for more details.
From Styled by Peter Lum, a dark pink cheongsam featuring lucky coins motif. — Picture courtesy of Peter Lum
For his brand Styled by Peter Lum, the designer is inspired by the iconic qipaos worn by Maggie Cheung in the movie In The Mood For Love.
The cheongsams in this collection are devoid of the traditional pankou knots or frog buttons, giving it a clean, appealing look.
Another key look is a cropped cheongsam top with flirty flounce hem worn with a skirt or pants. Also available are elegant yet comfy wrap dresses to keep you cool as you go on your rounds in the upcoming festivity.
For more details, visit Instagram @styledbypeterlum.