Style amidst the smog

When the two Mayas meet: Actress Maya Karin (right) strikes a pose with little Maya for a campaign shot, dressed in modern baju kurung.

WHEN I looked out of the window this morning, it almost felt as if I were holidaying in Cameron Highlands or Genting Highlands. Unfortunately, the truth is far less romantic.

It’s the haze, which usually comes around this time of the year. It’s approaching mid-year and many from the West will be on their summer holidays soon.

Tourists, no doubt, will want to explore the outdoors while children will clamour to run around in the parks. It would be a real shame if their activities were curtailed because of the air pollution.

For now, my children are locked up indoors. Mika is asthmatic and therefore, reacting quite badly to the haze. I, too, am not feeling good and most of my colleagues are coughing badly.

Since the haze has come upon us, we don’t open our windows or doors because it is so visible, and can be smelt too. Fortunately, we have air conditioners at home which are on all day.

But I can’t help thinking of those who can’t afford this, or people who have to work outdoors. How are they meant to cope?

What’s worse is there is nothing we can do about this but to pray for rain to come and wash away the pollutants.

Onto a more positive topic, my 3D show took place last week. And it was amazing, not according to me, but the audience.

Or course, we were pleased as punch, even though there were parts I wished had worked the way I wanted.

Still, I think everything turned out well, especially since the team put the show together in less than three months, and on a part-time basis too.

After the show, we received invitations to participate in other 3D shows and there’s even a possibility of some of our items being installed in an art museum. To me, this would be a dream come true!

But the pace has not slackened. One show down, I have another on the way. I’m talking about my Raya show. This one, however, is something I’ve done every year, so I’m quite confident of it.

By the time you read this, the showcase will be over.

I’d like to thank Ida Nerina for agreeing to help us direct it, and injecting it with a twist.

Ida came up with the idea of filming Malaysian celebrities wearing our outfits on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, and then projecting these clips (in black and white) onto the backdrop while the celebs walk out as if they were emerging from these streets. I thought it was a brilliant idea and went with it.

Fortunately, it wasn’t hazy when we did the shoot, otherwise our effort would have been ruined.

I had approached my celeb friends to brainstorm for ideas for the show at the very last minute. I sent SMS-es to Low Ngai Yuen and Ida, both of whom agreed to meet up.

We did so that very night, and my two crazy friends hatched the entire concept of the show there and then. There is just something about artistic people and tight deadlines producing genius brainwaves!

For the show, Ida and Low brought together Aby Latif as assistant director and producer, Farinie Mat Isa (to assist Abby), and videographers Gloria Kurnik, Felicia Lee and Johan Saly. I would like to thank them for their time and efforts, which was for a good cause as proceeds from this collection will be channelled towards charity. This is something I intend to do every year from now.

We were blessed with two hot and sunny days of shooting. Our celeb models were Aishah Sinclair, Dira Abu Zahar, Datuk Yasmin Yusuff, Ning Baizura, Tania Khan and Melissa Saila, who were very professional and absolutely rocked Chow Kit, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman and the Maju Junction area.

I must say the idea of using celebs to model the outfits was good as they looked sensational in the Raya For Her collection under my ‘emel’ by Melinda Looi label.

For our showcase, we also had fabulous performances by my artiste friends – violinist Dennis Lau, singer cum actress Crystal Lee, singer Noryn Aziz, and actress-singer Maya Karin, whom we used as the face for our Raya collection shoot (my own Maya adores her).

The guest designer for our hijab/tudung collection is celebrity Diana Amir. TheDiana Amir X emel by Melinda Looi was launched on the same stage and same day as my Raya collection. Diana was so kind to pull together a team of celebs and bloggers to model the hijab collection.

As Raya is upon us, I wish for everyone to be blessed with a great life, and to our Muslim friends, have a great time preparing for the festive occasion.

Mel’s Place is a fortnightly column by Melinda Looi for The Star newspaper.

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