With a name originating from a place in south Bali and a Hindu temple by a cliff there, the Uluwatu stores in the island paradise are well-known among the locals and tourists. Malaysian travellers like me, in a past visit, are no exception. If you’re in the game for hand-made Balinese lace, you may not be aware that we have our own local outlet that opened last April. It is well worth the visit, whether you want to make purchases or just to check out whether it carries a decent range of delicate designs sourced from the Bali stores. The answer to that is yes, although the range is not here in its entirety.
Using the krawang (cutwork) method, lace is stretched on bamboo hoops and sewn by hand on foot-powered machines identical to the old Singer machines, now seen only as antiques in the rest of the world. The thread is carefully built-up layer upon layer as the hoop moves back and forth. The empty areas of the lace are delicately cut away, while the loose edges are caught and bound up by the whirring needle. A single item may take five or more days to complete, depending on complexity of items at hand. Quite removed from the practices used in English and European lace.
Besides lace motifs, all apparels and accessories feature delicate eyelet motifs. Yes, you can see such styles in our local traditional baju kebaya, but it’s pricey to have a complete outfit handmade locally nowadays. The stores Malaysian husband and wife owners, Ida and Izard, have decided to price all items at only slightly higher margins (approximately five percent), as the turnover is ‘not as fast as established high-street brands’. However prices are still competitive to those in Bali. Four new designs are added in the store twice each month.
And you’re guaranteed to find clothes, bed linens, decorative and practical umbrellas, accessories such as bags, belts, handkerchiefs, hair-bands, table-runners, silk sarongs and scarves featuring hand-printed motifs. Lace tissue paper-boxes used to be sold, but quaint though they were, they were not popular and so recently discontinued. You can probably imagine for yourself the weird and tacky combination of lace and tissue boxes. If you’re unlucky, you may still find some stocks available.
Ida explains that tourists in Bali prefer items made from linen, while the Malaysian store’s customers, mainly middle-class Chinese, prefer rayon and cotton.
My favourite pieces are the Indonesian short kebaya made from rayon or cotton (RM189.90 to RM349.90); sundresses with beach-like designs and spaghetti straps (RM169.90 to RM199.90); and tie-back tube tops (RM109.90). Cheaper treasures include rayon-and-lace hair-bands (RM14.90) with the most expensive being rayon kebaya tops (RM349.90). There are also plans to bring in rayon A-line skirts, peasant and empire-cut tops soon.
Lot 162, 1st Floor, The Curve
|Opening hours:||Open daily 10am-10pm|