Baba nyonya tradisional clothes
Another interesting feature of nyonya culture is the baju kebaya. As each outfit is hand made with great skill using the best materials, Nyonya kebayas can be described as traditional haute couture. The intricate embroidery is equivalent to the best Venetian lacework. The pièce de résistance is a delicate needlework technique called tebuk lubang (literally to punch holes). This involves sewing the outlines of a floral motif on the fabric and cutting away the inside. When done correctly, the end result is a fine lace-like embroidery on the collar, lapels, cuffs and hem and the two triangular front panels which drape over the hips, known as the lapik. The choice material used is usually kasar rubia (voile). Other materials suitable for making the kebaya blouse include muslin, silk and georgette although these look less impressive. As the kebaya top looks rather transparent, it is usually worn over a camisole. Another traditional costume that is the baju kedah is worn by a nyonya and that is a round-neck floral blouse worn with a colourful batik sarong. The buttons of the blouses were sometimes made from the Malaya-era five cent silver coins with the portrait of Queen Victoria. To fit with the clothing, a nyony dame caught wearing a kebaya without the essential accessories is instantly doomed. Accessorising includes the kerongsang (ornamental brooches usually consisting of intan set in suasa, an alloy of gold and copper), silver belt, beaded slippers, necklace, earrings, bracelets, bangles, rings, anklets and a few hairpins) in her carefully coiffed hair. Nothing is left to chance and all accessories must match to perfection.
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