When American Mary E Vogt found out she has landed the coveted job of dressing up the movie stars of Crazy Rich Asians, she knew she needed to bring her A-game.
Although having spent 25 years in the industry with movies like Batman Returns and the Men in Black series under her belt, she knew this was one task she would not be able to spearhead alone without the assistance of local experts with on-the-ground knowledge.
She promptly enlisted Andrea Wong, former Editor in Chief of Elle Malaysia and Malaysian designer Raf Choo to aid her in creating a magical yet realistic Southeast Asian sartorial.
As it turned out, local designers played an important part in bringing the book to life, lending their creativity and understanding of the local sense of clothing – light, colourful and simple with separates that suit the tropical weather.
In celebration of the movie’s release and our local talents making us proud, here is a list of five Malaysian designers whose works appeared in what is now an international blockbuster.
Known for his wedding gowns, it was only apt that Carven Ong and his team fashioned the wedding dress that Araminta Lee, actress Sonoya Mizuno wore when she walked down the aquatic aisle on her wedding day.
Making every bride-to-be’s dream come true since 1994, Carven Ong is known for his use of different materials and fabrics in his creations.
For example, Araminta’s dress in the movie, which was designed by Vogt herself, was made completely waterproof and required 30 people sewing crystals on the dress for three weeks.
One of the few Southeast Asian atelier brands to be seen on the men in Crazy Rich Asians is Malaysian menswear boutique called Wardrobe.
Tailoring immaculate suits for the past 30 years now under Master Tailor Lim Fang Meng, Wardrobe also offers instant suit-making services in the comfort of your home.
In the movie, lead actor Henry Goulding wears a linen suit by Wardrobe as he exits his mansion to welcome Constance Wu’s character, fully embracing his role as a young Southeast Asian heir.
Fellow Malaysian Ronnie Cheng had the privilege of wearing a plaid Lord’s Tailor number during his scene in the movie.
Boasting over 40 years of experience in bespoke tailoring, the family-driven enterprise already has extensive experience in dressing celebrities, including Muhammad Ali, Mel Gibson, and Shah Rukh Khan.
In recent years Lord’s Tailor has also reached out to the younger generation through influencers under the creative direction of Kenny Loh, a second generation family member in the business.
A local designer with a clear understanding of the local women she wants to dress, Alia Bastamam keeps her designs simple in order to highlight her clients’ “million-dollar jewels”.
That would give you an idea of who her clientele is made up of – royalty, socialites and other A-listers.
In the movie, the romantic and feminine designs by the fashion house were mainly used to dress the crème of the crop who attended Araminta Lee’s extravagant wedding.
Leave it to Malaysian legend Michelle Yeoh to feature a local jeweller on the silver screen.
Designs by Mandalay Jade & Ruby, another family-run business overseen by three generations of women, are worn by Eleanor Young, Yeoh’s character in the movie.
In fact, the jeweller was personally suggested by her as she already owns many pieces from the design house.
Honourable mention: Duck Cosmetics
Jumping on the Crazy Rich Asians bandwagon is local enterprise Duck Cosmetics that collaborated with Warner Bros to create a makeup set based on the best-selling novel and movie.
Called the Duck Beauty Chapter Set, the new collection features an eyeshadow palette, primer, and lipstick among others.
The set retails for RM350 and is available at the Duck Cosmetics store in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and Suria KLCC, all FashionValet stores and online.
Of course, it would be crazy to think that any rich Asian would limit themselves to only local brands.
We’ve selected five luxurious items any “comfortable” Asian would have when travelling here.
This article first appeared in uppre.com