"Malay Fashion Through the Years" highlights two popular Malay female garments: the baju kurung and baju kebaya.
Baju kurung is a traditional Malay dress comprising a sarung, or a long skirt, and a long sleeved blouse. In the1950s, women would pair the blouse with a sarung made from kain songket (a handwoven textured fabric with gold or silver threads) and accessorise with jewellery and a handbag before finishing off their look with bright red lipstick. This garment was initially worn for important functions but eventually became popular for daily wear.
The 1960s saw the translucent kebaya, or a slim fitting blouse, becoming popular among women while a corset was worn underneath. The figure-hugging outfit was usually paired with a sarung made from kain songket or batik. Typically, it was custom-made to suit the individual. As a testament to its popularity, the era saw many actresses donning the garment in Malay films.
In the 1970s, thick fabrics became the material of choice for women while accessories such as chokers and trendy hair scarves were also incorporated into the look. Women began favouring loose and brightly coloured baju kurung in the 1980s, with shoulder pads giving them a sharper look. The 1990s saw figure-hugging kebaya paired with a corset making a comeback. Many of the designs featured beads or sequins.
In the new millennium, silk and French lace became some of the popular materials used in making the baju kurung and kebaya. A fusion of modern and traditional styles also emerged, such as peplum kebaya.
The video is produced by Star Media Group.
Fashion Through the Years is a special series that showcases a timeline of trends from Malaysia, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, and Việt Nam,. This is a project by Star Media Group, China Daily, The Daily Star, and Việt Nam News, members of the Asia News Network (ANN). — VNS
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