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‘Modest fashion’ runs the gamut at Singapore Fashion Week, from fully covered to frou-frou gowns

Saturday, November 4, 2017

PUBLISHED NOV 4, 2017, 9:17 AM CST

Leading New York designer Jason Wu may have headlined Singapore Fashion Week (SGFW) 2017, but it was a series of catwalk shows featuring what’s known as “modest fashion” that proved to be the talking point of the event.

In shows coordinated by online portal Modestyle.asia, an array of womenswear aimed primarily at the Muslim market was shown by designers from across Asia and the Middle East, including labels from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Abu Dhabi and Bangladesh. The looks on display illustrated the breadth of cultural diversity that falls under the banner of “modest” style.

Much of the modest wear created for Muslim women covers the skin above the wrist and ankle, obscures the figure, and conceals the neck and hair. Precisely how much of the body is covered is a matter of individual taste, beliefs, and personal style.

An array of interpretations of modesty – from demure to comparatively daring – were represented at SGFW, which took place last weekend at the National Gallery of Singapore.

Singaporean label Kaifiyyah’s slogan Libaasut Taqwa (Dress of the Pious) was embodied in voluminous multi-cloth abaya robing and headscarves, accented with Palestinian keffiyeh motifs, the garments concealing all but the models’ faces and hands.

Immensely popular Indonesian designer Dian Pelangi, whose Instagram account boasts 4.8 million followers, also covered models head to toe, with brilliant pops of colour, bold graphic patterns, and fez-like peci hats (more commonly worn by Javanese men) sported under headscarves.

China’s Tasmiah added elegant ink artwork and qipao details to its modest ensembles. Singaporean Adrianna Yariqa presented sharp garments for the hijabi career woman – pinstripe pantsuits, logo tees and monochromatic headwear.

The closest thing to a burka’s eye-covering screen was shown by famed Malaysian couturier Jovian Mandagie, whose baseball caps embellished with frayed, face-veiling fringing were coupled with garments that ranged from designer denim to loose floor-length robing.

Displaying an alternative modest wear look, Bangladeshi house La Reve went headscarf-free, with breezy fluoro-highlighted tunics over tight Capri pants and sleeves ending at the elbow. Forearms also came to the fore at Singapore’s Feayn show, where frou-frou gowns and turbans ruled the catwalk.

The raunchiest rendition of modest-wear was delivered by the Malaysian student-led Limkokwing Fashion Club. Creative director Tiffanee Marie Lim dropped a figure-hugging, blinged-out collection that covered heads, arms and legs while remaining as saucy as the show’s soundtrack, which included Jamie Foxx’s highly suggestive song Storm.

Lim says with the music and designs, she and her creative team set out to be provocative, and to emphasise the models’ femininity and allure.

“Women are beautiful when they’re classy. Just because you’re wearing long sleeves, that doesn’t take away from how beautiful or sexy you are,” she says. In fact, Lim suggests that, “if you’re clever” while dressing in clothing that fits within the general definition of modest wear, “you could come across as much more sexy” than a woman in skimpier attire.

“Modest fashion just encourages you to think about it more,” she says.

Abu Dhabi-born, Singapore-based designer Nida Shay, who also showed at SGFW, expresses similar sentiments. “Women can still look attractive and glamorous, yet be completely and fully covered up,” says the Paris-trained designer.

“You don’t have to show skin to look attractive. I wanted to take inspiration from traditional Arab dress, and also from my heritage, my roots in Pakistan, and make clothes that were modest yet cool, attractive and whimsical.”


To read the full article, visit: http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/fashion-luxury/article/2118159/modest-fashion-runs-gamut-singapore-fashion-week-fully