IT was all glitz and glam at the STYLO Gentlemen’s Weekend, an inaugural event held at Puteri Harbour, Johor Bahru. The marina walkway was transformed into a fashion runway for three days from October 26 to 28. Well, it certainly got the men excited as it featured a host of big boys’ toys including sea planes, luxury yachts, supercars, classic cars and superbikes; completed by a line-up of gentlemen’s lifestyle brands in men’s fashion, accessories and more.

The first day was marked by the Malaysian debut of Rolls-Royce’s Black Badge range which is the alter ego of the marque: edgier, darker, more assertive, bolder and more powerful.

The second day which was the Grand Opening featured two fashion shows, ‘Gentlemen of the World’ by Habitat of Man and ‘Saloma meets Suzie Wong’ by a bevy of beauty queens.

The former was indeed unique. It not only had professional male models but also people of the industry strutting the runway in a range of menswear from rugged gear and suits to resort wear and batik. The brands were Bon Zainal, Style Soldiers, Tarik Jeans, Rasta Batik, Carro, Amniq, Absolute Opulence, Benua, Gavroche, Havana Club, Kronoz Jeans and Kompound Goods.

One of the aforesaid, Gavroche, is the brainchild of our very own Sarawakian designer, Arzmy Hargreaves. What Arzmy had to say about the event, being the only participant from Sarawak: ‘I was very humbled to be invited from Sarawak as one of the designers involved in the STYLO Gentlemen’s Weekend, taking place in such a beautiful venue.

My thanks to Bon Zainal, my mentor in menswear and who gave me the opportunity to showcase my collection. What an honour to showcase in front of Datuk Professor Jimmy Choo; that was truly an achievement for me. It was a fruitful and an unforgettable experience in learning and networking with other influential people, the high society and the big guns of the fashion industry. We have been waiting for a showcase just for men like this and it is finally happening.

My brand, GAVROCHE, is specifically for men, particularly suits and accessories. When I was invited for this, I couldn’t be any happier as it is my forte! To me, local designers need to step up their game and make the effort to promote their brands at another level.

We cannot wait for opportunity to come. We have to make way to find these opportunities and play our part. Fashion is a big industry and attending events like this can flip open doors for greater things and collaboration. I am planning to join the Malaysia Fashion Week.’

Bon Zainal, the founder of Bon Zainal menswear and President of Bumiputra Designer Association (BDA) explained, ‘The show is meant to support and uplift our local designer brands to the international platform.’ The other fashion showcase was ‘Saloma meets Suzie Wong’ which had over 40 beauty queens from the STYLO Style Icon awardees, Miss Malaysia Kebaya, Mrs Malaysia Tourism Queen, Miss Tourism Queen International and Mrs Malaysia Superstar, just to name a few.

Looking like glamourous beauties of the 60s and dressed in sequined kebaya and qipao gowns designed by The MOD House, they certainly kept the pulse up that evening.

Vocal performances were courtesy of UK supermodel, Sydney Jo Jackson with her smash hit, ‘Boogaloo’ and Mrs Asia International All Nation 2017, Chilla ‘Cha with her mellifluous rendition of the popular ‘Shanghai Bund’ tune. This is the first time STYLO International organised STYLO Gentlemen’s Weekend and a fashion show in this part of Johor Bahru. Puteri Harbour was ideally selected for its strategic and convenient location just across from Singapore. UEM Sunrise was the key partner and venue sponsor.

‘It is a good headstart for STYLO because we intend to make STYLO Gentlemen’s Weekend an iconic event and boost the potential and marketability of Puteri Harbour as a tourism destination’, said Datuk Nancy Yeoh- Reissiger, Founder and CEO of STYLO International in her welcome speech.

A key highlight of the event included the opening of the USAbased International Seakeepers Society in Puteri Harbour. Malaysia is only the society’s second office in Asia after Singapore and has over 600 members including world leaders, corporate captains and celebrities such as James Cameron and Mikhail Gorbachev. It supports marine science and conservation by utilising yachts for research, educational outreach and deploying oceanographic instruments.

For the event, nine scientists were brought to participate in a forum on marine conservation. Guests of Honour at the Grand Opening included Dato Dr Ammar Abdul Gapar, Senior Director, Domestic and Events for Tourism Malaysia; Tuan Haji Adib Azhari bin Daud, the Mayor of Iskandar Puteri; Encik Abdul Malik bin Haji Ismail, Director of Tourism Johor; Dato’ Michael Ong, Managing Director of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Kuala Lumpur; Professor Dr Jimmy Choo and Julian Chang, Board Member and Asia President of the International Seakeepers Society.