To celebrate this collaboration between Singapore and Brunei, the focus is on the evolution of the modern Malay woman, as it is a symbol of a shared history and identity. For this project, Na Forrér created an evening dress known as a “Baju Kebaya” – a common traditional womenswear worn by Malay women from Brunei and Singapore during formal events and festivities. The traditional corset crafted from traditional Bruneian Songket fabric is normally worn by brides and grooms for marriage ceremonies and on royal and state occasions. The boxy and high shoulder represents womens’ empowerment and modernity. The dress is made from a 100% wool crepe, featuring a hand-painted Euca silk designed by Lully Selb, and Bruneian Songket, a traditional material woven out of silk and cotton gold and silver threads. Historically, the textile of choice of Malay elite and royalty, Songket was often handed down from father to son or mother to daughter, as prized family heirlooms to be treasured and worn only for the most special of occasions. To exhibit the collaboration between Brunei and Singapore, the Brunei emblem Panji-Panji is featured in the custom textile design.
Farhanna Pura is the designer behind Brunei brand Na Forrér. Her demi-couture fashion line, inspired by women’s empowerment, translates ‘Girl Power’ into strong silhouettes with contemporary styling that remain true to her Malay culture. This evening dress for this project, is traditionally known as a “Baju Kebaya” – a common traditional womenswear worn by Malay women such as those from Brunei and Singapore during formal events and festivities.
Lully Selb, a contemporary modestwear brand, was launched in 2015, synergizing the strengths of both co-founders – Selb, who graduated with a Fashion Design degree from a joint university partnership between NAFA (Singapore) and Huddersfield University (UK); and Lully, a creative artist and Fine Arts graduate. Lully Selb believes “in challenging the status quo and expressing our unique individuality. Being Muslim creatives, we have a modest approach to our dressing. Who’s to say that modernity and tradition are mutually exclusive.”