Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah accepting a memento during the BIBCo Gala Dinner while BIBCo director Heidi Munan (left) look on.

Renowned Kuala Lumpur designer Bill Keith’s sophisticated and elegant designs were the creme de la creme of the gala dinner held at The Waterfront Hotel, Kuching on October 5. Paired with Sarawak contemporary bead designers Lucille Awen Jon and Juliana Ambrose’s stunning, and at time dazzling beading works, the models beaut donning the creations were certainly magnified.

The showcase was choreographed by Vicky Fong, and the event was a product needed to exhibit that there is still value for beadworks in high fashion. The intricacies of the art and rare finds have the potential to develop a lucrative artisanal bead industry in Sarawak, where beading works have always been a business for small-town designers.

Further proof of this was exhibited to the audiences when it was turn for international bead designers to showcase their valuable pearls on the runway.

Each with a story to tell, the striking features of the beads, whether as necklace, earrings and the likes, provide enough evidence that beading works can be fashionable.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah accepting a memento during the BIBCo Gala Dinner while BIBCo director Heidi Munan (left) look on.

The artists

The international designers that presented their designs onstage were Floor Kaspers from the Netherlands, Chris Lim Zamora from Philippine, Florence Wee from Australia and Elaine Robnett Moore from the USA. There was also a showcase by the Weaving Sisters from Laos.

The event was young Chris Lim Zamora’s first international fashion showcase. He presented three pieces of garments from his Enlacer Collection and three pieces of Tangkulo scarves, traditionally worn as a headpiece by male leaders such as chieftains and warriors in tribal communities from the Philippine.

Elaine Robnett Moore is the fourth generation of internationally-renowned artist whose medium of choice is beaded jewellery. A self-taught designer of with experiences of over thirty years, she finds inspiration in using beads as a mean to empower women globally, teaching the art of bead stringing and the business of it. Elaine’s creativity and artistry have evolved from passion to mastery which is highlighted in her designs.

Dutch bead artist, Floor Kaspers, is known as a bead researcher. She often makes large pieces that resemble a piece of cloth. Her showpiece was a woven piece weighing 2.5 pounds and made of 224 beaded ribbons. With more than a quarter of a million beads in it, she disclosed that she worked on it for more than six months.

Next up were the Weaving Sisters from Laos who are talso eachers of bead weaving. A click at their facebook page ‘The Weaving Sisters’ showed that interested parties travelling to Laos can visit their studio to learn about their culture and tradition through bead weaving.

The gala dinner’s opening showcase was from our very own local designer, Livan Handicraft. Livan Handicraft is one Sarawak’s leading brands in beads jewellery and craft. The brand was founded in 1988 by Roselyn Lah, who was awarded Malaysia’s Asean Mastercraft Designer and also the recipient of the prestigious Tukang Ulung Award.

With the night’s collection showcasing a younger and fun approach to the century-old heritage, the beadworks also combined the best of Sarawak beads. The collection were designed exclusively by both Roselyn and her daughter, Livan.

The BIBCo Gala Dinner and the BIBCo workshops are both parts of the What About Kuching 2019 programme.

With the establishment of WAK, October is filled with community-driven festival of arts, culture and lifestyles radiating outwards towards a greater Kuching.

Apparel designed by Livan Handicraft.