Level 3



Like food and art, Peranakan fashion has for centuries responded to the cosmopolitan environment of port cities in Southeast Asia by integrating diverse influences. Hybrid and innovative, it offers ways to rethink conventional concepts of fashion in Asia as unchanging, traditional, or “ethnic”.

Here, a wide range of fashion is displayed beyond the iconic sarong kebaya, including menswear, footwear, bags and accessories. Together, they show how fashion of the Peranakans is diverse, reflects hybrid influences and evolved over centuries. With over 130 objects, the gallery also highlights contemporary expressions, such as a batik cheongsam worn by the late Madam Kwa Geok Choo, a sarong kebaya worn by Ivan Heng for a Wild Rice 2019 production of Stella Kon's Emily of Emerald Hill, and a pair of beaded slippers worn by lead actress Jeanette Aw in the blockbuster drama series The Little Nyonya (2008).