One of the most highly anticipated films of 2018, Crazy Rich Asians has pretty much raised the bar on movies even though the screening hasn’t even begun in Malaysia. The film adaption based on Kevin Kwan’s best-selling book in 2013 is Hollywood’s first studio film focusing an all Asian cast in over 25 years. Indeed, it is quite a historical moment in the film industry after so many cases of Asian-inspired films being overly ‘white-washed’.
The red carpet event has taken place in Los Angeles a couple of days ago, and as expected — everyone appeared glamorous, much like the movie’s rich and fabulous theme. Dressed in the likes of Ralph & Russo, Reem Acra, and Tom Ford, some of the cast also strolled down the red carpet with gowns designed by Asian designers.
Many are dressed in their own country’s fashion label — for example, Janice Koh wore a bell-sleeved gown designed by Singaporean designer, Priscilla Shunmugam of Ong Shunmugam, and Carmen Soo donned a dress by Malaysia’s very own Melinda Looi. Gemma Chan sparkled in a glittery dress by Oscar de la Renta, which has been co-designed by Fernando Garcia, and Laura Kim, who is Asian.
Red carpet events such as these have been known as a platform for actors to wear specific designer to send a specific message, and these ones are loud and clear — to support Asian designers in an all-Asian film. Here they are.
This award-winning Malaysian designer doesn’t need much introduction. Melinda Looi is an iconic veteran in Malaysia’s fashion scene. She has been designing since the mid-90s and has also designed for multiple designer brands and fashion houses in Canada. Her signature avant-garde style doesn’t go unnoticed among the clientele from both local and international — which makes her stand out as one of the most influential designers and personalities in the industry.
Carmen Soo in Melinda Looi
Founded by Priscilla Shunmugam, Ong Shunmugam is a contemporary womenswear label from Singapore. They create pieces that both modern yet traditional, by mixing modern silhouettes with traditional textile techniques — they are also known for their innovative cheongsams. December 2010 was the year she first launched her ready-to-wear collection, Orientalism, and the brand has since skyrocketed from there.
Janice Koh in Ong Shunmugam
It’s all about couture when it comes to Frederick Lee — who is also known as the godfather of the couture scene in Singapore. He has been designing for over two decades, bringing his long list of clientele on an adventure of fabric, colour, and materials. He has come a long way from his early designing days, from creating outfits for his friends to now an international red carpet event.
Selena Tan in Frederick Lee Couture
Every piece in Thomas Wee’s collection is tailored to perfection. This veteran fashion designer is known for his crisp, structured, and minimalist designs. Tailored jackets were and are always part of his brand’s identity, hence the reason why you often see him in one. Thomas Wee has been designing for 40 years but had to go on a design hiatus during the economic downturn. He has recently reopened his boutique at Mandarin Gallery, Singapore.
Tan Kheng Hua in Thomas Wee
Also an independent fashion label from Singapore, Time Taken To Make A Dress (TTMD) is started by good friends Letitia Phay and Jade Swee. Everything is crafted to the utmost detail, whilst experimenting with materials, patterns, and techniques. They not only focus on designing but everything from the stitches to beading details, as they both love the process of creating a new dress.
Constance Lau in Time Taken to Make A Dress
Filipino designer, Michael Leyva has never planned to be involved in this industry — in fact, he was prepping on being a flight attendant, even graduated with a Tourism degree. After realising that being up in the skies was not his true calling, he then turned to fashion designing by attending courses under veteran designer Jojie Lloren and attended fashion schools in London. Now he has a long list of clientele, including Anne Curtis, Charo Santos Concio and now newest one in the list, Kris Aquino.
Kris Aquino in Michael Leyva