What: Zenchi
Where: 117 Devonshire Road
When:
By appointment only. Email zenchi13@gmail.com or call 9090-1337.
Who:
Fashion designer and stylist Zenchi, 29, and his client-turned-friend Penn Yap, 41, who owns handmade jewellery line Kiki Culte.

Zenchi new fashion store DECOR
Zenchi new fashion store DECOR DESIGNERS
New store Zenchi carries gowns from label of the same name, designed by Zenchi Ewe (above right) and jewellery brand Kiki Culte by Penn Yap (above left).
PHOTO: DESMOND LUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

His understated gowns have been worn by celebrities such as Sharon Au and Denise Keller. But until early this year, Singapore designer Zenchi, whose full name is Zenchi Ewe, was still making dresses in a five-room HDB flat and transporting them on racks to his clients’ houses to show.

Fans of his three-year-old label Zenchi can now walk into his new workshop-cum-showroom in Devonshire Road, a stone’s throw from Orchard Road.

“I wanted this to be an intimate place where people can come with their friends, try on dresses and hang out,” says Zenchi of the shophouse he came across in May this year.

He spent about $5,000 to renovate the 1,200 sq ft space and picked out most of the furnishing himself. Two plush armchairs take pride of place in the main showroom. Boasting black-and-white walls, a varnished concrete floor and some chairs from vintage furniture store Second Charm, it exudes a cosy feel.

Zenchi prides himself on creating flowy, elegant pieces from one continuous piece of cloth, as opposed to the conventional way of cutting out and joining panels of fabric. They range in price from $350 to $800 for short dresses, and $750 to $2,000 for longer ones.

The boutique is co-owned by jewellery designer Yap, who started out as one of Zenchi’s clients. He first styled her hair and did her make-up about five years ago.

Ms Yap used to own an events company. She also sold three-dimensional paper crafts. Last year, however, she turned her bracelet-weaving hobby into a jewellery line, Kiki Culte. She feels that Zenchi’s luxury dresses complement her jewellery label Kiki Culte. Her handmade bracelets, which can be customised with diamonds and other precious stones, range in price from $108 to $6,000.

They are also sold at fashion boutique What Women Want at Mandarin Gallery and multi-label boutique Atelier Pour Homme at Marina Bay Sands.

She says: “It happened that Zenchi and Kiki Culte were both moving at the same pace and we are good friends. It was fate that this place happened.”

This story was first published in The Straits Times newspaper on Friday, October 26, 2012. Read similar stories online in The Straits Times Life! section.