Friday, January 16, 2009

…Kool Kuala Lumpur

With just three weeks into the year I seem to find myself to be sitting at airports or on planes a lot pondering life or the happenings of the recent trip. A few weeks ago I got an email from a production company in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia asking if I would come and be part of a TV Champaign where I would have to talk about my inspiration and how Europe had influenced my career as a Fashion designer…and so a few weeks later I was in KL.

Not knowing what to except of the place or the people other then the little research I did on the weather, which helped me, pack appropriately….30 degrees Celsius and sunny, who wouldn’t be excited?

Stepping off the plane I was whizzed of the studios to meet with the clients (the TV Channel) and the production team, the wardrobe was chosen and I given questions to answer about my inspirations etc that was eventually turned into my script. The day ended with a crew dinner where we all loosed up having a drink and talking about the coming days.

The next three days were filled with filming and a photo shoot. Although the pieces that was being filmed was merely a few seconds, a whole lot of work went into the set up of lights, camera and all the action. Made me grow a newfound respect for Hollywood and Bollywood, where the movies are hours long. I cannot begin to imagine what it takes to put together a full-length featured film.

Hours of hair and make-up, 60 takes, laughing / quarreling with the director, 500 photographs and several poses later…voila there we had all the raw cuts needed. Working on projects like this gets my heart beat racing and a twinkle in my eye… the excitement, energy, buzz of people and how everyone supported one another made this particular project a fun adventure.

In the mist of all this I had an afternoon off thus decided to take a quick tour of the city soaking in some sun and culture….the first stop was the Batu Caves and famous Hindu temple where I got chased by a wild monkey, next was the Batik making factory where they showed us how the ancient art of Batik was done, the pewter factor, a range of shops ending at the PETRONAS towers. Which I was informed are the largest towers in the world, the tallest single building is in Dubai.

The process of making Batik was the most interesting as my mind started to tick about how I could incorporate it into my next collection.

The process:

_A piece of white or dyed silk is stretched by two sticks on either side holding it up; next a pattern is drawn using a pencil
_Then a little tool called a “Chanting” (a little copper bowl with a spout attached to a wood or bamboo handle) is filled with a mixture of hot wax + resin and used to trace the drawing that were first done in pencil
_Fabric paint is used to fill in the areas that need to be colored in (the wax stops the colored ink from spreading)
_Once it is dry the fabric is put in a bucket of chemical fixatives making the color “fast” or permanent
_Lastly the wax is washed away as the fabric is boiled in a mixture of ashes and chemicals

After 3 days of work and lots of fun... leaving new friends, long hours of standing in front of the green screen, hot weather, palm trees and the beautiful Malay hospitality was hard…well its all in the name of fashion!

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