PETALING JAYA, Feb 21 ― Celebrated designer Datuk Rizalman Ibrahim is leaving the fashion world behind after more than three decades of a solid and successful career.
The 49-year-old who has created outfits for royalty and A-list celebrities said he decided to retire because he was worried he wasn’t ready to face the Almighty, Astro Awani reported.
The father of two sons explained that while he still had the energy and was alive, he wanted to be prepared to face the future.
He added that the untimely passing of his friends in the arts helped him see the bigger picture.
“The death of some friends made me wonder and think that God can take our lives at any time.
“I’m scared I’m not ready when I am called by God ― I want to go prepared.
“My retirement is my plan to face what’s to come,” he said during a press conference.
The Penang-born couturier unexpectedly announced his retirement last night at Istana Budaya after the Kesuma Jiwa performance, a concert which blends fashion and classic Malay songs sung by songstress Dayang Nurfaizah.
Audiences gasped when the designer made his surprise announcement just as the concert ended.
The style icon said he will be passing on his brand and legacy to his loyal assistant, Faizul Surani, who has been with him for the past 15 years.
According to Berita Harian, Rizalman said he will be focusing on his other business ventures namely interior design, cosmetics and beauty.
His announcement was applauded by audiences who weren’t aware that they were watching the designer’s final fashion show.
Also present in the audience was the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.
The royal was dressed by Rizalman for her husband the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s installation as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong last July.
A sought-after designer who is loved by many for updating traditional wear like the baju kurung and kebaya, Rizalman is also known for his elegant bridalwear and his theatrical fashion shows.