Defining the new theme ‘cyber-retro’, BEHATI presents a traditional contemporary ready-to-wear collection that is futuristic in concept, and nostalgic in style. BEHATI’s creative director Kel Wen went way back into Qing Dynasty and way front beyond centuries at the same time, to explore the possibilities of two eras of fashion colliding. The challenge of mixing fashion of different times is to achieve timeless value on the garment by applying innovative ideas while maintaining its traditional value.
BEHATI stars its CNY2023 campaign with two cyber duos – supermodel Cyii Cheng and singer-songwriter NYK, who is teleported into Thean Hou Temple in the Metaverse, photographed by Carlos Khu. The collection showcases casual and evening pieces of traditional Chinese fashion with the tech-wear concept in mind. The Baju Cina Cargo is the first sketch of the collection, a traditional Tang-style cotton shirt constructed with functional utilitarian pockets, an edgy approach to the classics. The metallic mood of the collection is further expanded to silvery brocade with scattered blue peony branches, tailored as two of Behati’s signature pieces – Baju Pantai and Baju Cheongsam Corset. The colour tones of this season’s traditional Chinese brocade surround itself in the old Chinese painting which has a gold and brown undertone, with silver highlights and Qing Hua Blue White pottery for a pop twist, equally subtle and statement. Toning down from the glitz and glam, we also offer old-school cheerful plaids in chic youthful Chinese staples.
Throughout the collection, there is a story of the transformation of Chinese Costumes – primarily from the women’s wear that time-lapse Cheongsam into the future. From Qing era Cheongsam pants suit look that is transformed into a futuristic sporty tracksuit with elastic hems, then appearing a 20s oversized boxy cut cheongsam with Kekek and Pesak, to a fitted mini cheongsam with stitched-on corset boning. For men’s fashion iconic references, a few looks are a tribute to Bruce Lee’s yellow and black combo pantsuit and Ipman black with white lining. The overall collection has a strong sport spirit from the cuts and draft, representing the preservation of culture as a sport.
Since ‘Cheongsam Corset’ has become our bestseller, from the idea of chopping the Cheongsam into half, the traditional Chinese brocade piece with corset boning has instantly become a brand signature. With lighter fabric options for 2023, Cyii Cheng is seen wearing a variety of light cotton and satin Qipao tops that are constructed traditionally as a Qipao but in a shorter silhouette as a blouse, nostalgic tiny floral prints are widely used to remind Malaysians of home, styled with model’s personal jeans, which Kel Wen explains it as today’s fashion for people to wear tops that are more versatile to style with. Our star of the collection, ‘Baju Qipao Pong’ features over-puffed sleeves with netting for the high fashion ladies to look prosperous for the New Year. Highlighting the beauty of ‘edging’, a traditional technique for Qipao’s fabric finishing to be trimmed or edged with a contrasting bias fabric tape, most pieces in the collection are hemmed with colourful edging, some in the shape of a modern corset silhouette without any boning inserted for a casual approach.
Behati’s icon, the Magua Oversaiz in the viral Malay Pesak Kekek cut, has come back in 5 brand new colours – Fuchsia pink, Mandarin orange, Burgundy, Emerald and Navy. This year we have enlarged the traditional Pankou buttons for bolder oversized aesthetics, a BEHATI original detail. For individuals who suit more of a fitted cutting, BEHATI is also introducing a series of sleek fitted classical men’s garments (Baju Tang), made in two fabric options – a lightweight matte satin cotton for the minimalist, and a traditional Chinese dragon brocade for the traditionist.
Lastly, we partnered up with HANDS Percussion to present ‘PINK IS THE NEW RED’ from our new series of pink signature pieces to showcase our full CNY collection at DRUMHOUSE – a Southeast Asia percussion and Chinese Opera performance. With musical talents dressed in a full BEHATI ensemble, DRUMHOUSE is a celebration of multiracial unity and an opportunity to showcase BEHATI fashion on different shapes of body and characters in a community. The 4-day-5-shows event opens with 20 drummers in Black Baju Li Bai with sharp sunglasses, serving Chinese Mafia realness. Followed by an iconic performance of traditional Mak Yong and Chinese Opera sharing the same stage, in a painting-like setting, with musicians wearing a wide selection of Chinese brocade pieces. At the bridge of the show, BEHATI custom a pink ‘Selimut’ (blanket) made of multiracial traditional fabrics, all in pink to symbolise ‘love’ for the meaning of the song ‘Hadir Mu’ by Zamzuriah, the headpiece was a nod to the traditional Manchu headgear of Qing Dynasty as a hijab. The show ended with a full pink performance, with all musicians wearing pink BEHATI pieces from the collection.
BEHATI CNY 2023 collection prices range from RM219 to RM699, available online now at behati.my and offline at Collabstore Four Seasons Place KL, Parkson Elite Pavilion KL and Bev C in Johor Bahru.