Along with about 2 dozen media people, we made our 4 hour road trip to Kuantan, Pahang where we were to spend a night before adjourning to the Sultan Abu Bakar Museum in Pekan (an hour’s drive from Kuantan) for The Contemporary Malay Wedding Exhibition. It was a welcome respite from the haze-filled capital as there seemed to be less haze in Kuantan.
The museum is a stately building and little wonder as it was formerly a palace so there is a lot of space and it makes for a very unique museum. I love museums, always have and always will. I can spend the whole day in just one museum and not get bored as there’s something about the ambience in a museum that I appreciate.
As we disembarked from the coach at the museum, we were given a warm welcome by the museum staff who were standing by with garlands, really felt like a VIP! Haven’t had a garland like this since Hawaii long time ago. We were all greeted by the acclaimed designer himself, Bernard Chandran.
There was a gamelan troupe who played their instruments from the time we arrived throughout lunch. This is quite special as it isn’t very often that I come across a group of gamelan musicians.
We were ushered into the cool confines of a theatre where there was a Q&A with Bernard Chandran. He elaborated on his collaboration with Sultan Abu Bakar Museum and the wedding gowns displayed in this exhibition, most of which were on loan from the Brunei royal family for whom he has been designing for the past 18 years.
After the Q&A, we were led to the gallery where the lavish wedding gowns were displayed, each one costs between 50k euros and 150k euros! When you see how ornate each gown is, you will begin to understand why the price is so steep.
The more elaborate gowns were made for the Brunei royal family weddings and the fabrics used are special fabrics manufactured in Brunei. These are spectacular gowns which must have taken months of meticulous workmanship.
It’s not just the gowns that are impressive. The lace veils are a sight to behold – exquisite and totally made for a princess.
This is one museum trip I enjoyed very much and was worth the 4 hour coach trip back and forth. I believe the museum will have more exhibitions in future and if you happen to be in Kuantan or Pekan, this museum is a must-see.