Iconic kebaya gets a modern makeover

SINGAPORE – A two-piece denim outfit, a sculptural white dress and a jumpsuit with Nonya beadwork – these were just some of the kebaya-inspired looks spotted at the Singapore Fashion Council’s (SFC) inaugural gala dinner on Oct 12.

This event was held at Pan Pacific Singapore Marina Bay as part of SFC’s Singapore Stories exhibition, which is organised since 2018 to give local designers a chance to showcase their talent.

About 250 fashion enthusiasts and tastemakers attended the gala to show their support of the local industry.

The 2023 theme, Kebaya Re-imagined, commemorated the reopening of the Peranakan Museum in February and the National Heritage Board’s bid to inscribe the iconic garment onto the Unesco Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in March.

Singapore, Malaysia Indonesia Brunei Thailand have all jointly proposed the kebaya. The decision should be made in 2024.

“Singapore Fashion Council is honoured and grateful to be a part of the rapidly evolving and increasingly vibrant industry. We are placing the spotlight on the timeless elegance of the kebaya that has transcended time and space, and honouring its symbolic heritage and style,” said SFC president Wilson Teo.

The gala culminated with a runway presentation by 30 local designers who put a contemporary spin on the garment.

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