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Sourcing Custom Fashion Design on an Antiques Diva Asia Tour in Phenom Penh- Romyda Keth

Sourcing Custom Fashion Design in Phenom Penh: Romyda Keth

Custom Couture For A Curvy Diva 

Toma Clark Haines wearing Romyda Keth with Steven Fevreau at the Antiques DIva Annual Champagne Brunch at the Paris Flea Market

Toma Clark Haines wearing Romyda Keth with Steven Fevreau at the Antiques DIva Annual Champagne Brunch at the Paris Flea Market 

I have a bit of a reputation… in addition to drinking entirely too much champagne, I’ve got a penchant for high heels and fabulous dresses. In fact one of my most frequently asked questions when I speak is and when I meet clients and brand followers in real life.… “Where do you get your dress?” And while I’m a fan of both high end and low end – from DVF to Laundry – I look for items that flatter the figure. I’m a curvy girl and what curvy girls everywhere know is you can look fat… or you can look curvy. I choose the latter.  

I’m going to let you in on one of my biggest fashion secrets… This January we hosted our annual Paris Champagne Brunch at Paul Bert Serpette in the Paris Flea Market – I wore a sensational cape-sleeved knee-length red jacket with a simple strapless tube dress underneath. The design was a one-a-kind design by Cambodian Designer Romyda Keth. 

Custom Fashion Design in Phenom Penh: Romyda Keth

Romyda Keth custom fashion house in Phenom Penh

I first visited Romyda’s shop this summer while laying the groundwork for our Phenom Penh Design Inspiration tours. One of the things I love about our Asian Antiques Diva Tours is #ItsNotJustAntiques – from helping you find a furniture factory to custom-make your designs, to art studio and gallery tours to giving you access our favorite local craftsmen whether that’s hardware for your furniture and doors or lantern and lighting makers or simply a fabulous tailor….  A stop in Romyda’s shop is fabulous for retail therapy for fashion hunters, but even if you’re not looking for clothing it is worthwhile for the design inspiration. (Plus she has a maison store next door). 

Book A Tour with The Antiques Diva & CoBOOK A CAMBODIA ANTIQUES TOUR 

For years – even before we started working together and were just friends – I’ve admired my colleague Angela Somwaiya’s wardrobe. Angela now heads up our Asia Antiques Diva Tours. She is statuesque, standing a good head above me. She’s gorgeous, very sultry and has a mysterious look and wears the most amazing dresses of anyone I know. Curvy, Vivacious and Va Va Va Voom.

Romyda Keith dress on Antiques Diva Asia Guide Angela Somwaiya

Romyda Keith dress on Antiques Diva Asia Guide Angela Somwaiya

I was thrilled when as we were heading to Phenom Penh as part of our groundwork for setting up our Antiques Diva Asia Tours Angela asked… “Toma, is it possible we can make time to shop at my favorite dress store?”  

Toma Clark Haines Antiques Diva Asia Tour: sourcing custom design at Romyda Keth in Phenom Penh, Cambodia

My fitting for a custom dress at Romyda Keth in Phenom Penh, Cambodia 

In South East Asia when you attend a social event the well-heeled who’s who will all be wearing Keth’s designs. But the amazing thing… not one of the women will be dressed the same. Keth only makes 1 dress in each size for every design. Created in her onsite factory, the designs are done in a gorgeous Khmer silk in a harmony of colors cut specifically to emphasize on women what differentiates them from men. From now on a trip to Asia is not complete without at least a 36-hour stopover to stock up on my fashion needs for the next season.

Atelier Ambre by Romyda Keth on an Antiques Diva Asia Tour

Atelier Ambre by Romyda Keth

Romyda is Cambodian-born, was raised in Paris and studied at the Paris School of Fine Arts and at top fashion design school Esmod. She is one of the few Asian designers to have established a worldwide following; after the first Atelier Ambre opened in Cambodia in 1999, the brand has since expanded to Middle East, Africa, Australia and the rest of Asia. Her designs are all about COLOR and CURVES. Those are the key words that describe my fashion sense. Each item is custom tailored on site, fitted by Romyda. And for a luxury brand creating nearly one of a kind designs the prices are reasonable. I think my custom fitted dress and jacket combined were around $300. The dresses I purchased ran between $75 and 150 USD. For more information visit Romyda KethBook A Tour with The Antiques Diva & Co

Kheunh anak chab,  

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva® 

Guest Blog – See You in Cambodia!

When I received the following letter from my Australian friend Verona, I knew that I must post it on my blog! It’s not every day that a friend writes with the title, “See You in Cambodia” in the subject line. Verona and her darling husband Douglas are adventurers-at-heart and though I’ve only known them a short time I’m certain Vee is my soul mate! Sometimes ones paths need only cross for a few brief months in order to be friends for life! Verona is living my dream – abandoning reality as she knows it and opening a hotel in a far away exotic locale! Someday I hope to follow in her footsteps (opening my own B&B;) but in the meantime, I plan to live vicariously through Verona and her husband’s wanderings! I hope that Vee will take time out in the coming months to keep Antiques Diva Readers updated on her wonderful divalicious journey! Verona and Douglas, best wishes for mountains of success to rain on you and congratulations on this exciting move! We’re with you all the way!

Much Love,
The Antiques Diva™

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Antiques Diva,

It’s not every day you buy a hotel in a tropical paradise. And although I’m still pinching myself in disbelief, that’s exactly what my husband and I have done. After years of moving around the world with the corporate giant, this next move is our own making. After being located in South East Asia for a time, we decided that was where, one day, we would retire. So when out of the blue the opportunity to purchase a small hotel on the South West coast of Cambodia presented itself my husband and I threw caution to the wind and signed on the dotted line.

We have bought a 19 room boutique hotel with bar, alfresco dining terrace and rooftop Jacuzzi pool due to open December this year – how cool is that? It’s in Sihanoukville, formally called Kampong Som, and right by Orhheuteal Beach with pristine white sand spanning for miles and gentle rolling waves protected by the sheltered Thailand Gulf. Every evening is blessed with a perfect sunset enjoyed with something cool and refreshing in our hands while sampling freshly caught seafood grilled in the sand before us.

Of course, this idyllic dream may fade some when the reality of running a hotel kicks in; trying to placate guests, running out of ice, power cuts and air conditioner break-downs and training staff who can barely speak English, but we’re confident we’ll take it all in our stride and soldier on! Although there are a number of hotels in Sihanoukville already they are mainly backpacker huts or expensive 5 star resorts, so our moderately priced 4 star pad with the best managers in town will be a nice addition!

So I say goodbye to my good friends in Holland and wish you well in your own dreams and maybe we’ll meet up on a sandy beach one day in a small place called Sihanoukville.

All the best,
Verona
Proprietor, Coolabah Hotel

Why did my Aussie friend call her hotel The Coolabah Hotel? After the line in “Waltzing Matilda”, of course! The unofficial Australian national anthem sings,
“Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a Coolabah Tree….”


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