When Alia Alizar walked into Harper’s BAZAAR Malaysia’s The Black Night last December, I was instantly captivated by her interpretation of Surrealist Man Ray’s iconic photographic composition Les Larmes. Draped exquisitely in a custom-made Yadotsa toga evening dress, Alia had pearl teardrops decorating her face while a sleek, über-cool bubble ponytail topped off the look. “Apart from it being a great excuse to dress up, it was such an honour to be a BAZAAR’s Most Stylish Women alumni, and to be part of such a wonderful celebration,” says Alia.
Today, she greets me with her signature smile in her gorgeous Asian-inspired home, where mixed natural elements surround the bright and airy space, further accented with touches of bamboo, rattan, and wicker that reflect a Balinese aesthetic. Her radiant personality shines through her current look, a belted burgundy utilitarian blouse paired with checked trousers and pointy white kitten heels, as she ushers me to a private room. Here, a slew of pieces from Yadotsa’s recent collection are all laid out, which had been presented at Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week RTW 2018. “Fashion is ever-changing, unpredictable, and keeps you on your toes, but that’s what makes it exciting,” says Alia, a graduate of fashion design and marketing from American InterContinental University. “In 2009, Nasha [Alyssa, co-founder] and I recognised an opportunity in the Malaysian market for women’s ready-to-wear. Not long after that, we launched Yadotsa to address the modern woman’s wardrobe needs with our unique and innovative offerings.”
At a glance, the life of a fashion designer may seem glamorous, constantly surrounded by beauty, whether it’s the process of developing sketches, sourcing and sampling fabrics, or attending trade shows, but Alia admits that her role is both exciting and demanding. “Producing a strong collection requires a lot of resilience and patience,” she explains. “But the satisfaction you get when you take a bow after presenting your collection is absolutely priceless.”
Alia describes her personal style as essential, effortless, and evolving. “There are no right formulas when it comes to developing personal style. You need to find the one that speaks to you,” says Alia as she demonstrates her sharp sartorial flair by pairing a soft plum mandarin collared blouse with cuffed bell sleeves with an asymmetrical gathered skirt and tailored jacket from Yadotsa, finished with a pair of metallic gold pumps from Saint Laurent. “I design for all the amazing women in my life—myself included,” she exclaims. The homegrown designer also names Victoria Beckham as one of her style heroes: “Apart from proving that you can achieve anything if you set your mind to something, her sleek and minimalist approach to dressing continues to inspire me.” Erdem Moralıoğlu also inspires her in that respect. “He has an exceptional understanding of the female silhouette, and I always look forward to his dreamy choices of fabric,” she entails. “It would be a dream if we were able to collaborate on a collection together!”
Yadotsa celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and not only continues to thrive with a ready-to-wear line, but also with bespoke and bridalwear offerings. “I look forward to growing the brand and getting better with what we’re doing,” declares Alia. Finesse, at its finest.