So far one of the city’s best kept secrets, Romyda KL (pronounced Ro-Mee-Da) is an exclusive label helmed by public relations mogul Selina Yeop Jr, singer Ning Baizura and in collaboration with Cambodian designer Romyda Keth.
Having debuted successfully at KL Fashion Week last year, the brand has since garnered a growing number of loyal fans due to its signature body-con silhouettes, lightweight iron-free fabrics and delicate details.
Romyda KL is housed at The Conversation Studio, a double-storey link in Medan Damansara, and shown by appointment only. We are greeted by Ning Baizura, resplendent in a purple dress that accentuates her curves.
“This just came in,” she says, referring to the dress. “I couldn’t resist! I had to get one for myself!”
Ning leads us to the first floor where the collection is displayed in colour-coded splendour across two rooms. Sold conceptually as ‘French design with Asian influences’, the first thing that grabs us is the fabrication. Light, luxe and stretchable in varying textures; we imagine this is how the brand achieves its second-skin, form-fitting character.
The next observation we have is how fine and delicate the detailing is; from beading to applique or even laser cuts, the finishing is consistently flawless. While ‘East meets West’ has long been a concept that has conventionally appealed more to westerners, Romyda certainly embodies the best of the French couture-making craft with interesting Asian inflections in a way that is universally appealing. The genre of the clothing go from power-femme dresses, to smart daywear and into cocktail hour (with hems rarely falling below the calf).
Multi-entrepreneur Selina Yeop Jr first discovered the designer label Ambre, headed by Cambodian designer Romyda Keth during her travels. While Romyda Keth remains the driving force behind the design and technical construction of the pieces, Selina and Ning act as creative partners in terms of artistic direction.
“I brought Romyda to Malaysia because I just have loved the brand for 20 years of my life, and I know that this is a label that is capable of making every woman look her most feminine,” she said. “And it certainly does flatter women of all shapes and sizes, regardless of how form-fitting the clothes are.”
The beauty of Romyda KL is not just in admiring each piece in your hand, its magic gets to you when you try the pieces on. Romyda is certainly intuitive in knowing where to cut the fabric, with an intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of the female form.
Born in Phnom Penh to diplomat parents, Romyda spent many years living in Europe before studying at the Paris School of Fine Arts and the Esmod School of Fashion Design, also in Paris. Before she had even completed her apprenticeship programme there, the American chain store, Macy’s, had offered her a position as a designer, enabling her to work on her own sketches.
She joined forces with a hat designer friend and began showcasing her collections in a small boutique in Paris’s sixth arrondissement, enjoying press coverage in the most prestigious of women’s magazines. Returning to Cambodia in 1994, she launched a makeshift workshop in her home with only three couturiers, exploring the wealth of local handicrafts, embroidery techniques, diversity of colours and high quality Khmer silk and organza. She opened her first boutique: Ambre in 1999, expanding to several more locations with stockists all around the world.
At Romyda KL limited pieces are carefully curated and brought in to The Conversation Studio.
“Many of our pieces come just in one of each size and they do sell out quickly,” Ning explained. “However, we do order garments for customers, which will be made from scratch at the atelier in Cambodia and delivered to KL within several working days.”
“We also offer some modifications for our customers, such as raising the neckline for some of our customers who prefer more modest dressing, and can customise existing designs to our client’s measurements,” she added.
To make an appointment to view the Romyda KL collection, call 03-7118 3508.
Location: The Conversation Studio, 9 Lorong Beluntas 2, Medan Damansara, Kuala Lumpur.
All images: Romyda KL & Tongue-in-Chic
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