Malaysian fashion designer KL Ho wins Cannes award with ‘gothic oriental’ cheongsam designs

Mark Ryan Raj
KL Ho (centre) speaks to the media at Sheraton Imperial in Kuala Lumpur. With him are models Geraldine S. Bigar (left) and Chilla Cha. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — Malaysian fashion designer Ho Kok Loong, also known as KL Ho, has been given the “Outstanding Fashion Styling Award 2019” at the 72nd Cannes Short Film Festival in France.

The award was for his edgy and gothic take on traditional Chinese clothing like the cheongsam.

Ho, who hails from Seremban, is also the executive director of “The MOD House”, a homegrown fashion label that specialises in creating affordable and fashionable office attire.

His award-winning collection intrigued guests as models showcased his unique designs while walking down the runway at the red carpet gala and fashion show dinner at the InterContinental Carlton Cannes, France, which featured international couture brands like Kapriva, RockStarr Designer Wear, Gina Frias London and Grace Moon.

“I wanted to express my darker side in this collection through a play on colour, texture and zentangle patterns,” said Ho during an interview with Malay Mail at the Sheraton Imperial, Kuala Lumpur.

Some of KL Ho’s designs that incorporate zentangle patterns and ancient Chinese characters on a Cheongsam. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

He said that he tried to “harmonise the differences of the world with fashion”, as he incorporated different elements of Chinese heritage into his “Gothic Oriental” collection, such as the use of 3,000-year-old Chinese characters on two of his dresses.

KL Ho takes great pride in his culture and expressed that by winning the award he was not only showcasing his designs but also the heritage of his ancestors. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Ho takes great pride in his culture and expressed that by winning the award he was not only showcasing his designs but also the heritage of his ancestors.

“One of our models is a non-Chinese and even she could pull off the dress, so it made everyone realise that this is innovative and something that everyone can wear,” added Ho.

Buoyant after his collection received rave reviews in France, Ho and The MOD House are set to launch a venture through a website called “Wardrobe Solutions”.

The website acts as a medium for local and international designers to showcase their products and as a platform for people to buy and rent couture quality clothing at affordable prices.

With over 30 local and international designers on board, the website will allow designers to focus solely on designing, while The MOD House will help them to produce and market the clothing on the website.

“I think this can be the start of a new wave in the fashion industry here, nowadays people don’t have the time to manage their wardrobes, so this website can help them save a lot of time,” said Ho.

This is not the first time that Ho has been invited to prestigious fashion events in the West as he was also invited to feature his collections at the 2018 New York Fashion Week.

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