Redefining Cambodian Style
A slew of shops have made Phnom Penh Southeast Asia’s rising fashion star.
Cambodian design has always maintained an element of grace and elegance. From traditional silk weaving to the craft of jewelry making, the appreciation for beauty and a sense of chic is evident in the costumes worn by classical dancers and performers of religious ceremonies.
While younger generations still embrace the essence of tradition, many feel the need to express their idea of Cambodian-ness in modern ways. From textile boutiques to paintings, hand-created artifacts to fine jewelry, young, innovative Cambodians are rediscovering a creativity that was once lost in Phnom Penh.
The prominent address for the city’s most stylish and exclusive boutiques is Street 240. Bordering the walls of the Royal Palace, lined with old colonial-style residences and shaded by deep green trees, this is where the Pearl of the Orient is slowly emerging out of its reclusive shell.
One example is Daisy Boutique, founded by two sisters in 2012, and who are redefining Cambodian fashion. The boutique offers lines that combine traditionally woven silks and delicate Khmer lace patterns with intricate seam lines and vibrant colors, as well as silk scarves, handbags and shoes to complete the look.
The luxe art of silk weaving dates back to the first century in Cambodia, and traditional patterns and symbols woven into silk cloths often tell a story of the country’s tradition and heritage. The knowledge and know-how of the silk craft were partially lost during the Khmer Rouge regime but the industry is having a rapid revival, and nothing defines luxury more than the soft touch of fine Cambodian silk. Jasmine, a boutique also located on Street 240, offers exquisite tailor-made gowns made from fine, Cambodian handwoven silks creating a line of uniquely elegant and feminine gowns in bold shades, which are unseen elsewhere in the city, or indeed the world.
This new emerging class of designers are beginning to have the revenue to showcase their work, with fashion shows and designer weeks held annually in the city. Cambodian design is beginning to draw international attention and it’s here in Phnom Penh, with its unique blend of sophistication dabbed with the organic allure of traditional design, that the country’s chicest look out and the world looks in.
Photo Courtesy of Daisy Boutique