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06 July 2013,
Imaginatively done up with Melinda’s signature eclectic-vintage style, the brand new Melinda Looi boutique in Bangsar is unmistakably Melinda.
Modern vintage has its own appeal because it is an inimitable style that is unique to the person that creates it. It takes inspiration from our personal history and aspirations, while celebrating the merge of our past and present. It’s this sort of ‘personal-ness’ that is immediately apparent upon stepping into the new Melinda Looi boutique in Bangsar. Cosy and chic, the interior spaces offer just that right touch of vintage and contemporary – elements that represent the style that this celebrity Malaysian fashion designer is known for.
“My personal experiences and what I value in life are my source of inspiration. Whether it is about designing clothes or taking care of things in life, I am always guided by my roots and family values, “ Melinda explains. Needless to say, the design of her new boutique along Jalan Maarof takes on the same philosophy, beautifully interpreted three-dimensionally.
Set in a white-washed 2-storey building designed with a touch of tradition amidst modernity, it was the perfect property for Melinda to showcase her collections – and it’s not just due to the strategic location that offers the place plenty of visibility. Architecturally, it captures the essence of Melinda’s style quite well.
The pitched roof, reminiscence of traditional Malay architecture is an interesting juxtapose against the contemporary glass-encased façades and steel beams. To top that off, Melinda’s signature clothes hanger logo is literally the perfect sign-off; when driving by, it’s hard to miss the building – the boutique’s exterior is unmistakably Melinda Looi.
Inside, warm timber floors and lush furnishing cocoon the interior with a sense of private comfort. On the ground floor, Melinda’s ready-to-wear collection and accessories are set towards the front complemented by interesting displays of decorative compositions. Delving deeper into the boutique, we come across the private dressing rooms housed behind red theatrical curtains.
“This is one of my customers’ favourite spots,” Melinda says. “I have designed this fitting room to provide as much privacy as possible – something important for my high profile clients. But that aside, people just seem to love spending hours here – even kids. I think it is because it is a very comfortable place to just rest and relax.” The dressing room is truly the ultimate comfort zone. The wall-to-wall full length mirror and the inviting lounge chair give a touch of lavish glamour, reminding customers they are the most important person in that room.
The same bespoke ambience continues upstairs which accommodates Melinda’s bridal couture collections. There is a romantic sense of plush eclectic with feathery decor and vintage objet d’ art all around. The wedding collection is set neatly in rows towards the side, while at another corner, Melinda included a wedding collection for kids comprising cute outfits for flower girls and ring bearer boys.
The centre of the room is kept as spacious as possible to accommodate large group of friends and family members who would want to be there when the bride-to-be tries out her wedding dress. To cater to these unique fitting sessions, Melinda custom made the wall-to-ceiling mirrors – the side mirror panes were tailor-cut and set at different angles to create a sort of kaleidoscopic effect. This again illustrates Melinda’s eclectic approach when it comes to the finer details.
However, on a quiet day without customers’ pre-wedding excitement and all, the space becomes a personal ‘museum’ of Melinda’s best kept heirlooms and handmade upcycled art pieces. For instance, the vintage armoire that belonged to Melinda’s late grandmother.
“This cupboard is a very special piece. It reminds me of all the fond memories of my grandmother and my childhood,” Melinda shares. “I have upcycled it so it looks as good as new. Coincidentally, this little nook here was exactly the right place to place this armoire.”
As the centrepiece of that room, Melinda has filled the armoire with handcrafted decorative objects that blended in with the rest of her wedding collection. The paintwork on the side of the armoire’s door still looks surprisingly new – evident that some things can last a long time despite having been around for decades. This pretty much sums up Melinda’s touch and taste when it comes to the design of her showroom – of which she did entirely on her own.
“I did consider engaging an interior designer to do up this showroom,” Melinda says. “But after much consideration, I figured it would be better to do it on my own. As the house was in good condition, we just needed to freshen up the space with a fresh coat of paint, new timber flooring and final touches here and there.”
It proved to be a really good decision, resulting in a place that is customer-friendly yet completely personal with Melinda’s signature style sprinkled throughout the boutique. Here and there, decorative details take on Melinda’s talent for arts and crafts as well as her passion for the theatrics and costume culture – all translated into a subtle but interesting menagerie of handmade or personally sourced paraphernalia that inspire this designer.
In all, each space within the new boutique was meticulously designed to reflect Melinda’s love for fine art – all from a vintage chic point of view while adopting the elaborate detailing and unconventional avant-garde style that Melinda is renowned for.
To date, Melinda has three brands under her name: Melinda Looi Couture, Melinda Looi (Prêt-à-Porter), and MELL BASICS, Malaysia’s first fully organic basic brand. Melinda is also venturing enthusiastically into Bridal and Islamic wear with a full range of ready-to-wear collection and couture designs. She is also expanding her reach beyond the fashion circle, collaborating with well-known local and international non-fashion brands for joint designing and branding projects on e.g. interior products and others.
The Couture Showroom is opened Mondays to Saturdays, 10am to 6pm; closed on Sundays. For best consultation, kindly make an appointment prior to your visit.
MELINDA LOOI COUTURE SHOWROOM
131, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar,
Bukit Bandaraya, 59100 Kuala Lumpur.
T: +603 2093 2279