Retro Fashion Roars At Benita Ladies Night

Last update: 28/01/2015

By Salbiah Said

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 (Bernama) -- Retro fashion roared at the Benita Ladies Night last Saturday, with the women dressed in vintage clothing made famous by legendary Hollywood and Malay film icons.

From the Great Gatsby fashion of the Roaring Twenties to the Swinging 60s, and the Saturday Night fever craze of the 70s, they turned up at the De Palma Hotel in Ampang, with their own fashion statement.

The ladies were dressed accordingly and became fashionistas overnight. As the word suggests, Retro is reminiscent of an earlier time. To quote the New York Times, "As is often the case in retro fashion, historical accuracy is somewhat beside the point".

In fact, the retro phenomenon emerged in the late 70s and didn't enter the mainstream vocabulary until around 1990.

In Malaysia, more young Malay women are experimenting with fashion despite donning the hijab, with magazines such as the Malay language glossy title Hijabista, began crowding newstands.

Hijab Fashion Brand

A fashion industry has grown around this, with online fashion retailers in the likes of Fareeda, Neelofa, Aidijuma, Zawara and Radiusite, selling stylish, modest and elegant hijab fashion brand.

At the Ladies night, the Benita committee members led by its president Rohana Mustaffa were dressed in loose kebaya, unlike those worn in the 50s and 60s by Malay film primadonas Saloma and Sarimah, which accented their figure.

Its appeal spread to women of all cultures, accentuated by bee-hive hairdos and pointed sunglasses, as seen in Lat cartoons and slim pencil knee length fitted dress.

At the glam and glitz event, both young and old had their own style, with some mix and match from yesteryears, including the nostalgic Pop Yeh-Yeh era, with the judges having a tough time picking the best.

Of the nine finalists, Norliza Hashim was picked Retro Queen. Dressed in an umbrella skirt made famous by Saloma and Marilyn Monroe, she dazzled the runway and drew applause as she performed the twist, which was popular in the 60s.

Stunning and Glamorous

Liza, as she is better known, looked stunning with a scarf tied under her chin in a bonnet style. Since the dawn of cinema, Hollywood's leading ladies, such as Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn knew the power of how a well-tied scarf can boost an outfit.

There were other glamorous ladies too. Norshazlina Nor'azman, who was among the nine finalists, was elegant in a tight-fitting knee-length black dress, which enhanced her slender figure. To match her outfit, Norshazlina wore a pair of vintage black lace gloves and pearl necklace.

In Tiga Abdul, Sarimah looked absolutely fabulous, with her knee-length dress that clung to her perfect figure. To complete her glamorous look, Sarimah wore her hair in a perfect little bun, with transparent black lace gloves and pearl necklace.

The Roaring Twenties fashion was popular among the finalists, with Ainul Huda Mohamad Saaid and Nur Baizura Azizul Hashim looking vogue in their flapper dress and head gear, while Maisuriana Hassan spotted a 1920s red Cabaret dress with feathers.

Flapper, Cloche Hat and Bee-Hive

Siti Hawa Othman found just the right attire for the evening, with her frock and black leggings, enhanced by a snug fitting cloche hat, which was known in the 1930s. The 20s and 30s fashion was made famous by silent movie stars such as Louise Brooks, Clara Bow and Alice Joyce.

Others who attracted the judges attention were Farhana Poniman, who was dressed in a mini skirt, which was the rage of the 60s.

To boost her outfit, she spotted a bee-hive hairstyle, which was popular in the Swinging Sixties era among Hollywood stars such as Audrey Hepburn, French actress Brigitte Bardot and synonymous with big-name musical acts such as Dusty Springfield.

Bibi Khatong decided to wear bell-bottom pants, which became fashionable for both men and women in the mid-1960s.

In the 1970s, bell-bottoms moved back into mainstream fashion, with Sonny and Cher helping to popularise the pants in the United States by wearing them on their popular television show.

The outfit, which was typically flared from the knee-down and became a symbol of the outlandish and colourful style of the decade, was also made famous by John Travolta in the Saturday Night Fever in 1977.

Most Sporting Woman

Also looking vogue was Nurul Fatehah Yusoff, who wore a long black skirt and jacket, with a polka dotted blouse.

Masfaliza Masmuda , who spotted a blonde Afro wig, was unofficially voted the Most Sporting Woman in the Retro Ladies Night. There was not one single event without her active participation.

Rafeaton Mohd Ali missed the competition as she decided to let the 'cat out of the bag' at the eleventh hour. She, along with her daughter, decided to wear their Afro black wig after dinner. But their wigs were quickly snatched by other ladies who decided to pose, and upload them on Facebook.

Thanks to the committee, many props were available for the ladies, including a mock Vespa scooter in the hall and several outlandish sunglasses for them to pose outside the room, next to the entrance.