Versatile ready-to-wear

Fashion label Khatreena unveiled its stylish and comfortable ready-to-wear collection on the opening day of the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week 2022, which ends on Aug 21

LOCAL fashion brand Khatreena opened the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week 2022 (KLFW) yesterday, while also marking ten years since its inception in 2012.

It was a milestone for the brand to be a part of the opening night of KLFW, which is also the fifth year that it has participated.

This year, the high-end luxury label returns with a range of versatile, affordable, and quality wear, fit for various body shapes and sizes.

Fashion enthusiasts witnessed models walking dressed in Khatreena’s’ pret-o-porter collection called Live Life in attractive colours, textures and patterns.

“I am very excited to share our collection. [It is] something different from last year, which was based on warm palette,” said the designer behind the brand, Yang Amat Mulia (YAM) Sharifah Khatreena Nuraniah Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail, the eldest daughter of Raja Muda Perlis, otherwise fondly known as Tengku Khatreena.

“Our brand aesthetic is something that is suitable throughout the day and night. This year, we are working with elegant Moccona (coffee brand) tones and fabrics that flowy, simple and subtle but [are] easy to accessorise or dress up to personalise into your own style.”

Its ready-to-wear that is comfortable, explained the down-to-earth Tengku Khatreena, who spoke exclusively to the Sun, at the Ascott Star Hotel earlier this month.

She came up with the idea of exploring a ready-to-wear collection after taking stock of ‘the current situation’ within the country.

People are returning to work after two years of dealing with the pandemic, as well as an emerging food security issue, and other social issues affecting public welfare.

However, a fashion brand needs to come up with ideas for clothes, whether fashion-forward or creative pieces, and at the same time, produce an appropriate and wearable collection.

Tengku Khatreena noted that the pandemic changed our lifestyles and caused a shift in fashion trends. Most people are now looking for comfortable and basic clothes that can be worn for any occasion instead of turning to stiff, formal dresses.

Taking into consideration all these factors, Tengku Khatreena designed a flexible and affordable collection that can look chic in the work environment and later transition to after-office formal events and parties, as well as be dressed down for a more casual look to meet up with friends for brunch at a coffee house over the weekend.

At the same time, it should also be able to keep us cool in the warm weather.

She said: “Basically, it’s for all working women who work very hard during the day and perhaps try to strike a work and life balance. Thus, we have both simple and versatile silhouettes because we want them to style it, depending on how they want to accessorise it.”

“Furthermore, we are meeting at the right price point,” she added. The price of the collection starts from RM45.

This new collection would be different from her previous collection for KLFW 2021.

“Last year, I designed clothing that suited the Covid-19 pandemic transition to the endemic phase. I styled the looks with pockets to keep sanitisers and face masks. It was practical and functional. It was called The Endemic collection, highlighting Khatreena’s monogram as the pattern of the fabric used. My previous designs were very feminine with soft fabrics. But this year, I tried to bring in some structure of the softness of the clothing,” Tengku Khatreena revealed.

Mix and match

Defining her fashion label, she said: “Khatreena is all about mix-and-match design, suitable for women who start the day in the morning and transform the same looks to fit events at night.”

Her mix-and-match pieces serve as an added asset in the wardrobe.

“Just like what I am wearing right now, this can be elevated in a sophisticated style or paired with jeans for a more casual look, or [paired] with what you [already] have in the closet and accessorised to make it more formal. I try to design versatile pieces,” explained Tengku Khatreena, who wore a three-layer-orange coloured outfit for the interview, which looked elegant and yet casual.

A total of ten pieces were showcased on the runway on opening night. All the pieces were created with locally-sourced light materials like silk, chiffon, and cotton fabrics.

Though Tengku Khatreena did not want to divulge too much about the collection, as it may have affected the surprise factor for the audience, she did reveal a little bit about her favourite piece.

“A long jacket, an outerwear that can be transformed into a dress,” said the designer after careful consideration.

Personal style

Often, fashion designers are praised for their creative, new or winning outfits on the runway, but not much is said about their personal fashion style.

Some designers like to make simple, basic clothes. Some others like to wear what they design – or it could be the other way around, they design what they want to wear.

Their brand can be an extension of their own personal styles.

We wondered about Tengku Khatreeena’s own personal style apart from the stunning royal attire, she wears for formal events.

“I like flowy, [slightly] loose, unique colours, and something special or decorative details like embellishment, sequins, or lace,” she revealed, adding that personally, she loves the concept of layering.

“I love layering and I try to incorporate a whole different type of layering into my clothing line. Layering is not something familiar in Malaysia due to our warm weather,” expressed Tengku Khatreena.

“We can’t be walking around wearing a jacket in the hot climate. As a result, I pick thin, lightweight, soft fabrics that have a cooling effect and are perfect for layering as the wearer would not feel warm underneath the fabrics.”

Khatreena + Moccona

KLFW is also the first time the brand is collaborating with coffee beverage sponsor Moccona Coffee. Thus, Tengku Khatreena was inspired by the intensity of the colours of the coffee and came up with a range of colours for her new collections.

“Just like coffee, different people have different tastes. Similarly, our clothing has a very simple silhouette, but you get to style it in your own way to fit your own fashion style.

“The colours we bring in for the collection provide a different kind of vibe, and it ranges from brown, green and orange, to black and white, the colours related to the coffee brand,” disclosed Tengku Khatreena.

At the time of our interview, Tengku Khatreena was in the midst of preparing and making refinements for the fashion show, and like many designers, she had to face challenges before the show, including the limited time frame to prepare.

She was not designing ‘just another collection’, but in fact, it was extremely important collection for KLFW’s tenth year anniversary and significant for the brand’s fifth year celebration, added with the special collaboration with Moccona.

Furthermore, as a fashion designer, she had to ensure the collection was aesthetically beautiful or appealing to the eyes of the public, aside from coming up with a creative design.

She admitted that as a brand owner, she “feels the pressure to plan something different”, but at the same time, she was excited to share something that is affordable yet elegant.

A regal touch

Despite the pressures and challenges, Tengku Khatreena revealed that she had always wanted to be a fashion designer since she was just four years old.

“I was always interested in my grandmothers’ attire. I loved to see them dress up for formal (royal) events. This is why I was drawn to fashion, initially,” said the soft-spoken designer.

“At the same time, one of my aunts studied jewellery and fashion design, and I think that is when I began to be interested in fashion design.

“I used to play dress up or make crafts. All my toys were related to either art or fashion, knitting, embroidery and designing.”

Tengku Khatreena, being a royal herself, a princess and the grandchild of the Sultan of the state of Perlis, has worn many magnificent garments admired by many, but one wonders how she feels when she spots others wearing one of her pieces.

“I feel very proud,” she said with a cheerful smile.

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