Monday, July 20, 2009

A night of dazzling bling

AS EXPECTED, the crystal bead embroidery competition held by the Fashion Trade Institute of Malaysia Designing Centre (FTIMdc) was a night for the beading community to emerge in a glory of eye-bedazzling bling.

A theme of traditional Malay glamour set the mood for the gala dinner at which models and guests competed for attention in their richly embroidered baju kurung.

But, more than anything else, it was the underlying current of emotion which spoke the loudest amidst the rustle of glamorous heavily sequinned fabrics.

Labour of love: Fauzah Nurzuruhan showing off the fancy beadwork her sister has done on her sleeves.

For one, FTIMdc principal Rosita Jaafar, 44, had chosen her mother, Maimunah Md. Halim, 64, to officiate at this inaugural competition. This, on Rosita’s part, was one way of honouring the woman who had been the strongest force in providing her with the inspiration to start a school and subsequently, the publication of nine beading and embroidery books in her name.

Rosita also surprised her own employees and suppliers by calling them on stage to receive tokens of appreciation for their faith and support over the years.

In her opening speech, Rosita stressed the importance for women to equip themselves with the necessary skills so that they would be able to sustain themselves and their children financially.

Citing her mother Maimunah as an example of a single mother who had raised three children by sewing costumes for entertainers in Johor, Rosita pointed out that instead of surrendering to tears and depression, her mother had opted to empower herself with her sewing skills.

“Tears will not bring anything but hunger and hardship for you and your children. But, equip yourself with a skill and you will be able to hold your head high, proud in the knowledge that you can provide for your family. Though I will not promise that beading and embroidery will bring you riches, I can assure you that it can improve your lives by providing you with extra income,” Rosita said in her speech.

For the competition, participants were judged on their creativity, where imagination was required to coordinate the colours and shapes of the beads and bring out the beauty of the base fabric. Workman­ship was another criterion, whereby the neatness of stitches and the fine details, such as the crumpling of fabric around a cluster of beads, were taken into account.

“There is something priceless in the art of bead and sequin em­broidery because it requires two things that no machine can replicate – the gentleness of the human hand and an infinite amount of patience,” Rosita stressed.

Worthy gift: DK Hazlina, wearing the kebaya given by her husband as part of their wedding ‘hantaran’. She walked away with the best dressed prize that evening.

The crystal beads embroidery competition was held in conjunction with the FTIMdc’s 10th anniversary. at the Tun Rahah Grand Ballroom in Menara Yayasan Tun Razak.

Twenty-three participants sent in their embroidered baju kurung designs for the competition and the top three winners were given prizes with a net worth of RM6,000, consisting of 916 gold lockets, trophies, a vacation to a local destination and certificates as well as gifts from sponsors. Ain Nurfarahin Zyed Ahmad, a 20-year-old student of the centre, won the competition with her floral-themed arrangement on a red baju kurung.

Blogger and avid beader D.K. Hazlina won the best dressed award for the night wearing a green kebaya which had been part of her dowry from her husband’s side.

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published in The Star on Monday, April 13, 2009.

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