Malaysia's got style! Yes we do—and our honourees this year are living proof

From polished and immaculate classicists to irreverent and trend-defying iconoclasts, these trailblazing individuals are the ones to watch.

Throwback: Tatler Malaysia's Asia's Most Stylish One Night Only

Marion Caunter, founder of Hairplay Salon and Marna Ro Capital

KNOWN FOR: Truly comfortable in her own skin, Marion Caunter’s style exudes a confidence that’s indestructible.

Finding comfort in one’s skin is perhaps the pinnacle of beauty and style, and Caunter is the prime example. “Accepting your flaws, your weaknesses. . . That, to me, is beauty,” she told Tatler in 2018. This radical acceptance, Caunter says, is the key to building your style. “My style can communicate for me without me having to actually say a word. What a person chooses to wear can say a whole lot about the individual.”

As the founder of Hairplay Salon in Kuala Lumpur, Caunter understands that hair is a tremendous part of self-esteem. But as her mother once told her, Caunter says to never sweat the small stuff—and be your own person. For her, this means sometimes indulging in her growing collection of white shirts. “I don’t plan on ever stopping to acquire more,” she promises.

Nalisa Amin, model, influencer, and body acceptance advocate

STYLE MANTRA: “Prince is my style hero. I’m a tomboy at heart and no matter how ‘feminine’ I dress, I will always tap back to my ‘masculine’ side and Prince embodies androgynous and glamour perfectly in his style.”

The role of fashion in Amin’s life, and in the movement of body positivity, is a double-edged sword. On one end, it is an encouraging and inclusive playground, and on the other, a walled garden made inaccessible by limited sizing. As she grew more comfortable in herself, so did her style. Today, Amin is not one to shy away from any point within the fashion spectrum, and as an advocate of body positivity and acceptance, she encourages women all over, no matter their size, to do the same to push fashion forward.

See also: "We Plus-Size Girls Still Want To Look Sexy, We Want To Look Fashionable!"- Nalisa Amin

Farah Khan, founder of the Melium Group and creative director of Farah Khan

KNOWN FOR: What began as a dream of curating beautiful objects has spurred Dato’ Seri Farah Khan’s brand and style onto the international stage.

Dubbed Malaysia’s first lady of fashion, Khan grounds her love of clothes with a thoughtful perspective on life, regularly serving food for thought on her Instagram page. As the creative director of her namesake label, Khan has steered her brand into over 70 locations worldwide. She has dressed the likes of Paris Hilton, Kimora Lee Simmons, Gigi Hadid, Selena Gomez, and many more.

“My style is always reflective of what’s required of the moment; but it’s really presence of mind,” she says of her signature looks. “Structured jackets accented with statement jewellery for the boardroom; luxe chiffon prints for resort getaways; denim jeans you can dress up or down; it used to be heels day and night but now it’s chic sneakers from travel to cocktails... the crux is self-awareness meets an appreciation for beautifully-made things,” she says. During the pandemic, Khan started the #SupportTheEconomy campaign, working with various personalities across different industries to stimulate Malaysia’s economy.

See also: A Day In The Life Of Dato' Seri Dr Farah Khan, Founder Of The Melium Group

Nazreem Musa, fashion influencer and digital creator

KNOWN FOR: As he works to break the confines of the “appropriate", Nazreem explores various shapes, textures, and patterns from all corners of the fashion world.

With his signature long, wavy hair and a sense of style that recognises no bounds, Nazreem sees fashion as an art. He describes his fashion choices as fluid, avant-garde, and archival, and uses them as a vehicle for self-expression. The experimental dresser considers his mother as his style inspiration. “She taught me the importance of dressing well and always looking presentable (even when we go to bed or when we go to pray!),” he shares.

Fashion, for him, is also a playground, exploring countless silhouettes and even characters like the imitable Disney villain Cruella. A businessman by trade, Nazreem has dipped his feet in various ventures, at one time owning a namesake fashion boutique and even serving as the executive chairman of Pointray.

Ung Yiu Lin, founder and designer of ShoeShoesShoes and KLutched, and investor at Afiq M

STYLE MANTRA: “As I age, it’s more about comfort but at the same time showcasing your own personal attitude.”

As a mom of three and a wife to an athlete, Ung’s personal style is informed by her active lifestyle. She styles herself as a fashion chameleon, but as a shoe designer herself, Ung never forgets to let bold accessories shine.

Ung is married to squash player Azlan Iskandar, but she is no slouch herself—in fact, she was a medal-winning swimmer in her university days. During the pandemic lockdowns, Ung has picked up gardening and cooking. Apart from photos of her three beautiful children and clean, fresh style, Ung’s Instagram page is also populated by workout videos that will inspire anyone to get moving.

Kim Raymond, fashion enthusiast and restaurateur

STYLE MANTRA: “I had a very adventurous and funky style of dressing, but I would not erase anything. Without all that, I would not have discovered my style now.”

With a constant presence in the front row of fashion shows and a pair of restaurants under her belt, it’s almost unimportant that Raymond is the daughter of Malaysian tycoon Dato’ Sri Jeffrey Raymond. Whether it’s in her style or her life, Raymond doesn’t stand behind any shadows: she rejects blindly following trends and enjoys mixing and matching pieces from old seasons. Her favourites? Victoria Beckham, Balmain, and The Row.

Her little daughter Skylar, the love of her life, is already showing signs of fashion-forward tendencies, just like her mother. Her fashion icon is Zoe Kravitz as she’s “quirky and cool. Not everyone can pull off her looks.”

Ezurin Khyra, model and influencer

KNOWN FOR: A kaleidoscopic wardrobe keeps this model, reality star, and mother-of-five youthful.

Even as a mother to Amaan, Nadya, Omaan, Imaan, and Rmaan, Khyra keeps her style as youthful and energetic as she is. Counting Kim Kardashian and Lionel Richie among her friends, Khyra is the star of Astro Gempak’s reality show The House, which revolves around Khyra and her family. However, instead of glitzy parties and opulent trips, Khyra’s show is set within a traditional kampung house in Hulu Langat, offering an intriguing contrast to her glamorous outward persona.

Blessed with an hourglass figure and an enviable designer wardrobe, this fashion week regular has an inexhaustible passion for fashion that’s well documented on her Instagram. When out and about, this fashion maverick and mother of five trades her heels for comfortable sneakers and is equally at home in street-style ensembles as she is in couture gowns.

Aaron Chin, founder and managing director of Gamlite IT

STYLE MANTRA: “I believe men’s style should be refined but unpretentious. Like a well-balanced dish, the ingredients and flavours should work in harmony without overpowering each other.”

While donning a daily uniform is a common practice among technology executives, Aaron Chin’s is a cut above the rest. A firm believer of the uniform, Aaron Chin’s ideal outfit includes Rick Owens drop-crotch pants, a black turtleneck, and sneakers.

Sharpening his wardrobe with stylish staples has allowed him to take his company, Gamlite IT, to new heights, becoming the only technology company in Sabah to receive the MSC Malaysia Status. In his free time, Chin shares his love for plant-based meals, and, like many during the pandemic, has taken to caring for plants within his home.

Andrew Wong, co-founder of OpenHouse and Acme Bar + Coffee, and franchise owner of Delirium Café

KNOWN FOR: A true disciple of Rick Owens, Andrew Wong’s style takes the American designer’s work and infuses it with the burgeoning energy of Southeast Asia.

A restaurateur by trade, Wong’s passions are filled with food as they are with fashion, co-founding both OpenHouse and Acme Bar + Coffee in Kuala Lumpur. Much like his personal style, a lot of attention is paid to the experience of dining at both establishments. Everything from the way dishes are plated, to the interiors, and the aroma: “We also eat with our eyes. Before you put the food in your mouth, your eyes will see it, your nose will smell it, and only then will you get to taste it,” says Wong.

Although he prioritises comfort most of the time, he also pushes the fashion envelope. “I do it mostly not to make myself feel complacent at 57 years old, and with an agenda that may trigger questionable glances because I am not age or gender appropriate for the things I’m wearing. But generally, people know I’m just having fun and hopefully having a good laugh with me and not at me!”

 

Fattah Amin & Nur Fazura, celebrity couple and entrepreneurs

Fattah Amin

KNOWN FOR: With an eye for polished, smart ensembles, Fattah Amin favours sharply cut blazers, crisp open-collared shirts, and snug polo tees for a timeless look.

As a new father and husband to actress and singer Nur Fazura, Amin maintains his classic, handsome style as he takes on this new role in his life. His pride and joy in his family shines brightly in his online presence, showing another side of the actor from his hard-edged portrayal of police officer Zul in the 2018 action film KL Special Force. However, even as he moves into this new chapter of fatherhood, Amin still throws on a leather jacket from time to time for those instant suave points. He’s also a keen collector of and limited-edition sneakers from his travels. “Buying those sneakers in places like New York and Los Angeles was such a fun experience,” he says.

Nur Fazura

STYLE MANTRA: “I live life with no regrets,” Nur Fazura’s mantra goes, and with it comes style that possesses an equal amount of joie de vivre."

Fazura is building an empire. Translating her fame as an entertainment multi-hyphenate into a fashion and beauty mogul is no easy feat, but she is doing it all while enjoying her life as a new mother. In the past decade alone, Fazura has founded the fashion label Fazbulous as well as beauty brands Fazura Beauty, Fazura Skincare, and TruDolly. Much like the ones that built empires before her, Fazura knows that the secret to success is not just one hero product or brand, but a lifestyle.

With all that is happening, Fazura proffers a solid and very relatable philosophy when it comes to dressing. “I like loose clothing because it’s comfy and I also get to cover my aurah. I also have a thing for inexpensive clothes, so you’ll rarely see me in designer clothing but maybe designer shoes and bags.”

Fyza Kadir, fashion influencer

KNOWN FOR: With never a loose thread or strand of hair out of place, Fyza Kadir’s polished style is a study in keeping it pulled together—without being boring.

There is an element of surprise in the way that Kadir dresses. Which is not to say that she puts herself in outlandish ensembles—she is, rather, the epitome of a fashion chameleon. One day she’s preppy and the next, a total glamazon. Whatever it is, though, there’s always an unmistakable level of polish in Kadir’s style.

This is especially evident in the smattering of designer brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Valentino on her Instagram feed. To date, she’s collaborated with the likes of Shiseido, Loewe, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and Kate Spade. For her everyday look, Kadir keeps it simple and is most comfortable jumping into pieces such as basic jeans, bohemian style clothing and big white shirts. “I just love white!” she says. 

Idris Khan, model and actor

STYLE MANTRA: “Keeping fit allows you to have a lean body that would ensure whatever you wear will look good no matter your age.”

An equal balance of comfort and style is at the core of Khan’s fashion persona. The in-demand actor and model calls David Beckham and David Gandy as style inspiration, but Khan takes the boy-next-door look to the next level. He often dons his trademark oversized shirt, jacket, jeans, a pair of sneakers, and then lightly dresses it up with a necklace, bracelet or ring. “Balance is key,” he says.

Khan has parlayed that uncanny ability to strike the right balance into his own brand of socks called Ick, which is proudly 100 per cent Malaysian made. While the pandemic has put a damper on his love for travel, Khan's many interests keep him busy. His inclination for photography is informed by the places he visits, capturing many interesting details on his Instagram page for everyone to enjoy.

Koh Li Tim, director of EDC International

KNOWN FOR: A worldly knowledge and deep understanding of design informs Li Tim Koh’s style: smart, laidback, and with a dash of humour.

One look at his collection of ensembles on Instagram is all one needs to surmise that Koh has a sharp eye for design. As the director of EDC International, the interior design firm he runs with his father, Koh has worked with an impressive stable of clients resulting in projects such as the Park Hyatt in Ho Chi Minh, the Sheraton in Nha Trang, and the Grand Hyatt in Kathmandu, among others.

The artistic bent in which he approaches fashion is evident in his designer of choice: JW Anderson for Loewe. It also shows in his own collection of fine jewellery, VLT x Li Tim, which will launch soon. Essentially, however, his style is fuss-free and goes for “skate-inspired” looks when he’s out and about. “I like that they are laid back and they’re ultimately comfortable,” he says.

Loui Lim, executive vice president of Genting Cruise Lines, vice president of leisure and hospitality of Genting Malaysia, and director of Dream Cruises

KNOWN FOR: While rubbing elbows with the likes of Pharrell Williams, Lenny Kravitz, and Paris Hilton, Loui Lim is carving out his own niche in both style and business.

A scion of the Genting empire, it’s no surprise that Lim has a penchant for travel. He has, undoubtedly, mastered the art of dressing precisely for the place, time, or occasion. Wherever he is, though, his looks are informed by the sleek philosophy of Tom Ford, threaded by a sense of confidence and sexiness. But his ultimate style hero is his grandfather. “Although he was a very simple man and came from a humble background, he had exquisite taste in clothes,” Lim says. “It wasn’t until I was much older that I appreciated his understated style, and similar to me, he had a penchant for tailored suits and Italian shoes.”

Fashion-aside, Lim is busy making his own mark under the Genting umbrella by spearheading the group’s latest resort, Resorts World Las Vegas. There’s another thing he gets noticed for, however—his holographic silver phone case which has different light bulbs attached for taking selfies. “I get questions about it all the time!” he laughs. “I’m not big into taking selfies, but it’s pretty special as it was gifted to me by Paris Hilton, and she knows how to take a good photo!”

Omar Khan, founder of Omar Khan Rugs

KNOWN FOR: Omar Khan’s pared back wardrobe of neutrals and classic shapes contrasts with the dazzling, intricate bespoke rugs he creates

With a keen eye and expertise in interior design, Khan fuses his Parsons education with his rich, multi-cultural background to create bespoke luxury rugs under his eponymous label. As an artist and designer, Khan maintains a streamlined personal style, favouring neutrals and classic silhouettes.

He would say his style is “effortless but intentional, in the sense that it may seem at first glance simple but the construction is couture.” This stark contrast of his clothes compared to his work allows for more appreciation of each one, all while revealing a great designer’s discipline.

Sarah Illyas, head of strategic partnerships at Zalora Group and owner of Momager

KNOWN FOR: Effortless pieces and fun coordinates power Sarah Illyas’s chic, easy-going wardrobe

As an executive of Zalora and a mother of three, Illyas seems to have everything down pat. Her style is equally effortless: she often favours easy separates, but never takes the opportunity to coordinate her family’s outfits for granted. “I love a good balance of street style layered with classic pieces like blazers to refine your look,” she says. As a working mom, Illyas understands the need for proper postpartum support, which is why she started Momager, a company that provides “TLC for moms and moms-to-be.”

Sarah Shahdan, founder and CEO of Marcella & Co.

KNOWN FOR: As the head of her own make-up company, Sarah Shahdan’s fashion choices are grounded in her strength and fearlessness.

The first thing to note about Sarah’s cosmetics company Marcella & Co. is that it’s named after her daughter, Marcella. Marcella’s name, in turn, comes from the Latin “marcello,” meaning strong woman. This mantra is embodied in Sarah’s style too, manifested by way of vivid colours, bold patterns, and voluminous silhouettes.

She reveals that her style has always been a bit utilitarian, and that comfort is everything. Her favourite go-to look is “jeans, camisole with a statement jacket thrown over and a great pair of kicks. Doesn’t look like it but I do love my sneakers!” However, when the occasion calls for it, Sarah dons a power suit without flinching. Just like her brand, Sarah’s style caters to the strong woman that she is.

Yuna, singer-songwriter and founder of Yuna Room Records

KNOWN FOR: As she takes on the world stage, Yuna is trailblazing with style that’s true to herself—even if it took more than a few tries to find it.

Much like one’s identity, personal style can take many years and countless experiments to pin down. “For example, my turban style. . . I found something that works for me after years of trying out different things,” says Yuna. But all that has paid off—in 2020, she was the first Malaysian to star in a Coach campaign alongside Jennifer Lopez, Michael B. Jordan, and Kiko Mizuhara, among others. Her style icon? Audrey Hepburn—with a pair of black boots.

To read more, get your complimentary copy of the October 2021 issue here.

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