Bilang Raya 2024: A touch of classic and elegance

Local fashion brand Bilang has unveiled its Eid women and menswear collection dubbed ‘Raya 2024’, featuring the timeless allure of classic silhouettes and elevated designs from its previous ensembles.

The latest line comprised nine looks – Maryam, Dasiyah, Salma, Soraya, Yasmine, and Dayang for females while Awang, Budi, and Abu for males.

Launched in commemoration of Bilang’s third anniversary, the Raya 2024 collection was first revealed in a private session to their clients and partners who have been supportive of the brand’s journey since its inception.

During the preview, guests had the chance to see Bilang’s newest creations up close where they get to feel the fabric and explore a range of available swatches for the collection.

“The Raya 2024 is a stunning compendium that pays homage to the diverse sartorial forms of womenswear and menswear in the region beautifully captured through mainstream media, film, and photography over the last decades,” said the founders and designers of Bilang, Zulhelmi Kamaluddin and Fikri Afif.

For them, every look is carefully crafted, fusing a tasteful combination of colour palettes, pleasant textures and patterns including delicate laces, resulting in a truly mesmerising visual aesthetic.

They further said that the name given to each look in the collection represents distinct inspiration, style, and adornments.

The women’s sets showcase styles ranging from effortlessly flowing kebaya and kurung tops embellished with a resplendent selendang or sash to skirts and pants adorned with captivating motifs.

“Bilang also derived the renditions of the kebaya from the regional styles shown through the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for 2023, with Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand as the nominators to the campaign,” said the designers.

‘Maryam’ is a kebaya inspired by the sophisticated wardrobe of a cast in the renowned Malaysian film, Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam which was a staple to watch during the festive season when the designers were young. The name ‘Maryam’ is a tribute to the character portrayed in the movie.

The set features a combination of various patterns, with suja and slits on the sides while the back panel of the top is extended longer than the front panels, and comes with a wrap skirt, but can also be interchanged into a slit skirt if desired. A selendang or sash is added to the whole ensemble creating a
more elegant look.

‘Dasiyah’ draws inspiration from Thai’s baba nyonya kebaya and the wardrobe of the female protagonist in the Indonesian series, Gadis Kretek or Cigarette Girl.

The front and back panels of the top feature contrasting designs and lace types, combining black lace with a lining on the front panel and a standout structured collar. To enhance comfort, the set is complemented with golden flower motif pants.

Moreover, ‘Salma’s’ design takes cues from the golden age of Malay films during the 1950s and 1960s, with a focus on Saloma’s iconic kebaya tops’ silhouettes, blending elegance through fabric choices.

It features a short kebaya embellished with brocades, paired with a lace skirt and a lining of a different color that adds a speck of uniqueness to the look. A narrow selendang or sash is included to enhance the overall appearance.

The ‘Soraya’ is inspired by the 1990s and 2000s kebaya kurung. Elevating the style quotient, the loose-fit kurung top is adorned with patterned fabric and a front cinch, with a velvet skirt to give a touch of depth to the overall outfit.

The ‘Yasmin’, on the other hand, is a rendition of the Bilang Raya 2022 best seller. This unique kebaya top is designed to be worn in reverse, creating a stylish illusion, and featuring a kerongsang or brooch attached to the back and a flowing back panel. To complete the look, a detachable apron-like accessory is tied around the waist.

Moreover, the ‘Dayang’ is an elevated look of the Padian ensemble, the best seller, from the Bilang Raya 2023 collection.

The top bears some resemblance to Maryam’s top with the longer back panel and shorter on the front which serves as a reminder of a three-quarter sleeved baju kurung opah.

The skirt is a beautiful combination of lace and linear designs in various colours, primarily blue and red. The look is also added with an embroidered edged selendang for a more graceful touch.

For menswear, the label combined three sets this season following the success of their previous Raya Menswear last year, with hopes to expand its male clientele for Raya this year.

The sets, Awang, Budi, and Abu, include both plain and patterned tops and loose trousers with different collar styles and shirt lengths for a complete ensemble.

The ‘Awang’ is an improved version of Bilang’s Raya Menswear 2023 collection which includes a simple yet elegant top and pants.

The ‘Budi’ is influenced by the charming male actors of classic Malay movies, including Bujang Lapok, resulting in a unique and modern style.

Image courtesy of BILANG

The top and pants are made from checkered fabric, with sewn pockets on the front lapel of the top and a teluk belanga collar.

Lastly, the ‘Abu’ draws inspiration from the notion of comfort for all which silhouette caters to both men and women. The set consists of loose trousers and a long shirt with slits on the sides and pockets.

Also featured in the private showcase was Bilang’s exquisite Spring Summer 2024 collection ‘Rendezvous’ which walked the international runway in Jakarta last November.


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