We're on set with Alia Bastamam, and I'm fluffing her sheer cobalt-blue polka-dot kaftan dress as the photographer works on capturing the perfect moment. We chat in between takes and the conversation gradually shifts from styling anecdotes to the importance of women empowering one another, before eventually delving into her active involvement during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout the years, Alia has been a steadfast supporter of the Harper's BAZAAR Pink Project, and is often vocal about the cause. "Creating awareness for breast cancer is so important for women today, and for young ladies to take precautionary measures. My support for this project is imperative," says Alia, before revealing, "One of our dear friends lost her battle to breast cancer this year. Before she passed, she released a series of T-shirts with The Godmothers, and one of them was Tit Wink. We knew immediately that we had to do something different this year as a special homage to her."
When Alia first introduced her Tit Wink designs as part of her Alia B. Resort '19 collection in a moving tribute during Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week RTW 2018, it came in a series of T-shirts and sweatshirts. To elevate the design further for Harper's BAZAAR Pink Project 2018, the Tit Wink is now hand-embellished into a crisp white men's shirt, which Alia proudly styles half-tucked into a black pair of skinny jeans, topped off with statement earrings, after a quick wardrobe change.
Speaking about the campaign, Alia says it goes beyond merely creating awareness. "Most importantly, the shirt--or any merchandise of your choice--honours women who have successfully beaten the disease, those who are currently battling it, and those who we have lose their lives to it. At the same time, it's a celebration of womanhood and loving yourself. That's what I love most about the Pink Project."
When she's not working on her collaborations, Alia is designing for her eponymous label--which, now in it's seventh year, has since branched out to four main collections: high-end ready-to-wear, bespoke bridalwear, made-to-measure designs, and a secondary ready-to-wear for everyday essentials. Sensual, elegant, and timeless, her designs have been spotted on tastemakers that make the Malaysian fashion society, but at the end of the day, her design ethos is ultimately a reflection of herself. "I started to subconsciously zoom into my personal style and fine-tune it when I started my label," explains Alia. "My personal style effects how I dress and vice versa. I would not design something that I wouldn't wear."
For Alia, that means ease and comfort. "If you are not comfortable in what you are wearing, no matter how amazing the pieces are, it will show, and it will take a toll on your confidence and in the way you walk," she says, while gracing the set in a boudoir chic ensemble: printed silk kimono top with matching skirt--from Alia Bastamam, of course--and paired with white Vetements pumps. That being said, the designer also believes that style is about keeping an open mind. "I remembered a time when I couldn't wear sneakers. Now, it's all I wear on the daily."'
Alia's Top Picks
Everything Is Love by The Carters