A Showcase of Nyonya Kebayas from the Collection of Datin Seri Endon
Cultivating a love for
beautiful things from a young age, Datin Seri Endon Mahmood, the
wife of the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, has been privileged
enough to collect artifacts from all over the world. But she says
that it is at home in Malaysia that she has found the greatest treasures.
One of these is the Nyonya kebaya, which she has been collecting
for the past decade. Her love and admiration for the artistry and
skill that goes into producing these Peranakan works of art has
inspired the writing of this delightful book, her first, on its
beauty and history.
The Nyonya kebaya says it all, without revealing all. It evokes
a romance of the past, when Nyonyas stood proud yet demure in sheer
silhouettes of wonderfully embroidered voile blouses and richly
From the way the kebaya blouses wrapped the bodies of their wearers
to the stunning colours and embroidered designs, the Nyonya kebaya
is not merely a dress, it is a work of art.
Emerging into mainstream
fashion in the 1930s, the kebaya was originally an Indonesian Malay
dress that was adopted by the Nyonyas, who transformed it into a
glamorous, eye-catching translucent blouse.
Although it has been superseded by Western fashion, the Nyonya kebaya
is still one of the most recognisable and enduring of Malaysian
fashion icons. Here and there, one can still see Nyonyas decked
out in kebayas and all their finery. Having been part of the Malay
Peninsula's history since the 16th century, the Nyonyas and Babas
of the Chinese Peranakan communities in Malacca, Penang and Singapore
(formerly known as the Straits States) were true multiculturalists
from the very beginning. Their knack for combining the best of different
cultural influences, from the Chinese, Malay and European, contributed
to the rich Peranakan heritage that is well known for its distinctive
cuisine, architecture, jewellery, furnishings and costumes.
Drawn to the loveliness
of the Nyonya kebaya, Datin Seri Endon Mahmood has been collecting
kebayas for the past few years, traveling to Penang, Malacca and
Datin Seri Endon's passion for local arts has inspired her to share
her impressions of the Nyonya kebaya in this striking 140-page coffee
table book devoted to this charming fashion icon.
The highlight of this
book is the sumptuous photographic showcase of kebayas from Datin
Seri Endon's own collection.
Now, the artistry and
beauty of the Nyonya kebaya can be part of your collection too.
Yes, I would like to
buy The Nyonya Kebaya by Datin Seri Endon Mahmood
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