Thursday January 24, 2013
Always in the mood
By MELINDA LOOI
With Chinese New Year around the corner, our columnist yearns for romance and nostalgia.
IF you are a super shopper, you will probably visit most of the big malls to see their amazing festive decorations.
Although I donít have much time to do so, I still manage to visit the ones nearest to my home and workplace. Already, two malls have gone ďOld ChinatownĒ retro, putting up temporary shop lots reminiscent of olden day Chinatown with vintage-looking sign boards, complete with red ornaments, lanterns, tassels and cherry blossoms. Suddenly, you feel transposed to Shanghai or Malacca or Penang. I really love that feeling of nostalgia, and romance, as captured the movie, In the Mood for Love.
I can imagine ladies wearing outfits from my latest qipao collection, walking around or just posing for a nice photo. That was the kind of backdrop I wanted for my shoot for the Qi Of Qipao collection but unfortunately, there is no place in Kuala Lumpur that looks like that anymore. The city has become too modern and commercialised, and none of the old buildings have been preserved to retain our old world charm. It was quite depressing not to be able to find a suitable location and creating one just for the shoot would have been too costly. Travelling to Malacca or Penang was also out of the question because of the time and logistics. Anyway, I still love the way our collection shoot turned out with guest model, Angel Wong Chui Ling.
Malaysia is so culturally rich, the minute we bring down our Xmas decorations, those for Chinese New Year (CNY) go up. For many years, I used to keep my Xmas tree after New Year and just replace the ornaments to Chinese decoration for CNY and then change to Valentineís dťcor for 14 February. This is the first year that Iím breaking with that tradition.
Since I have such big window displays now at the House of Melinda Looi (in Bangsar, KL), I wanted this CNY period to literally bloom with cherry blossoms. How I wish we could have fresh flowers, but for our weather, plastic or fabric cherry blossoms are more practical.
My mum called to inform me that, according to her feng shui master, we should put up big red flower balls on our front doors to welcome the Year of the Snake. One interesting tip the master gave was to attach a radish under each ball. For smaller doors, you will need three balls; for big doors, five balls. This will bring you lots of wealth and health. Iíve already put them up at our House of Melinda Looi. I just need to put one up at home too. Hopefully, that will bring better luck for all of us at home. What I would like is for my kids to be healthy and always good Ė but perhaps thatís asking for the impossible! One is in his terrible twos, one is a super bossy lady daughter, and finally we have a son who is going through a phase of ďfinding himselfĒ. Yes, itís quite an interesting home at the moment and Dirk and I are learning something new every day.
As the coming year will be that of the Water Snake, greens and blues are must-haves in our wardrobe and homes. Purples and yellows are also good colours. When I heard that, I thought this was a wonderful coincidence, as my collection for CNY has all these colours.
In fact, green has always been a super colour for me; every time Iíve worn a green outfit, I have been busy with appointments. So I may change our family colour for the first day of the New Year from red to something else to please the water snake.
I used to be a black, white, grey, red or maroon person, but ever since my teacher Sue told me I should wear lighter and brighter colours, Iíve injected more vibrant hues into my wardrobe. Itís not that I donít like to wear colours, how can I not like colours when Iím in the fashion line Ė itís just that itís faster to dress oneself in standard colours without having to think about it. I know many professionals who spend hours on their clients but not themselves. Yes, clients to me are very important, they must look perfect first.
I have started to put all my coloured clothes together, so I can just put them on and go. And I do find that wearing colours brightens up the day. Especially these days, when itís mostly gloom and rain, bright colours lift the mood and energy.
The Qi Of QiPao collection is doing well. Weíve had our online contest and given out the prizes to the three winners. All of them picked different looks that suit them.
We plan to be more active this year with more online e-commerce selling and also exciting contests. More sharing and giving; thatís my goal for 2013.
Award-winning fashion designer Melinda Looi tries to marry consumerism and materialism with environmental consciousness, and believes her greatest creations are her children. Follow her on Facebook or write in to email@example.com.