On the eve of Merdeka 2016, Harper’s BAZAAR welcomed Hermione Olivia to the streets of Chinatown with an ambitious mission to unravel a maritime culture of Old Malaya in the hidden enclaves of Petaling Street, Bukit Bintang.
Amidst jostling bodies, darting cars, dodging motorbikes, the journey began at Old China Cafe where traditional antiquary dress the walls of a kopitiam housed in an old guild hall of a laundry association.
In the eye of the storm at a weathered alley on Jalan Balai Polis, Hermione, BAZAAR’s heroine for the day is still in serenity moments before Bukit Bintang is stricken with peak hour hype.
Tucked away in a dim stairwell sits a diamond in the rough. Foto Pak Tai in bold retro lettering lies in all its former glory, or rather what’s left of it. Alike to a mosaic, a multitude of photos is the first sight within the sanctums of a photo shop with a 60 year legacy engraved with memoirs of World War 2.
This historical photo shop boasts an equally impressive studio equipped with lighting and a singular vintage styled beauty parlour, a surprising experience that came with ornate backdrops of idyllic scenography.
The rundown unit of Foto Pak Tai extended to unusual spaces, an outdoor kitchen and a back room studio still alive with theatrical props were the few gems that remained attached to this whimsical destination.
Four hours later and a marathon around Chinatown, it’s officially a wrap – Teh Tarik with Hermione is as comfortingly local as it gets.
Special thanks to surprise designer guest, Jonathan Liang; Hair & Make Up: Sharifah Juliana & Davis; Photographers: Ahmad Nazim, Raisa Azzam; Harper’s BAZAAR Fashion Intern: Vanessa Lim; and last but not least, Chief Stylist and Founder of Sereni and Shentel, Shentel Lee.
BAZAAR has a special reel of moments from behind the shoot and inside the campaign of welcoming Hermione Olivia to Malaysia on the 30th of August 2016.