Indonesian Fashion: The Next Generation

Balai Sarbini in South Jakarta was bursting with excitement on Thursday evening as hundreds of students from LaSalle College International Jakarta celebrated their graduation. The students beamed as they exchanged goodbyes with schoolmates and lecturers.

But the school’s fashion design students were not among them. They were all busy backstage, preparing for their first gala fashion show.

“I feel worried and thrilled at the same time,” said Venezia Lowis, one of the students. “There are so many little details to take care of. I really want everything to be perfect.”

With the theme “Mascarade Mystique,” the fashion show was a presentation of mini collections and industrial projects by 15 graduating and 10 senior students from the school’s fashion design program.

“The theme was inspired by 19th century masquerade parties,” said Audrey Sillem, fashion design coordinator at LaSalle. “In those days, masquerade parties were a way of expressing your personality and allowed for a lot of passion and creativity.”

Passion and creativity were two things that were certainly in abundance at the event last week.

The show opened to the strains of Baroque music, as the stage opened to reveal a Moulin Rouge-style setting, decorated with velvet drapery, ornate chandeliers and an LCD screen set within a heavily gilded picture frame.

Three models dressed in red emerged from the half-dimmed stage. Their strong makeup, fanciful dresses and dark expressions lit up the stage.

The first item, a cocoon-shaped dress by Eric Pui, swathed the model in an air of mystery. It was followed by a mini tube dress layered in tulle by Jessica Yori, which appeared to transform the model into a lithe, fairy-like creature. The third piece, a long dress bedecked with frills and floral applique by Jessica Lim, created an impression of a worldly courtesan who could turn a man’s heart with only her smile.

“We were inspired by the famous fashion photographer David LaChapelle,” Sillem said. “His works are very creative and thought-provoking. That’s why we thought these dresses, with their strong color and designs, would be the best to open the show.”

The styles that followed revealed even more of the students’ style and creativity.

Feroline Anggraeni introduced voluminous jackets, pants and dresses, made from a combination of denim and latex overlaid with a houndstooth pattern, under the theme “Hot Air Balloons.” The unique materials and patterns gleamed under the spotlight.

A parade of colorful sweaters and knitwear followed. All of the pieces had been hand-knit by the students.

“In the short course that we do, the students go through different techniques of constructing garments, including knitting,” Sillem said.

“And they looked as far as China, Australia and Singapore to get high-quality wools with interesting colors. The results are these beautiful sweaters on the runway.’’

For the next section of the show, the music suddenly changed into a Javanese rhapsody, “Ijo Royo-Royo.” Its slow and haunting melody filled the entire hall. Five models dressed in batik ball gowns descended from the main stage. The audience broke into delighted applause.

These days, batik can be found in just about everything, from sundresses to mini pants and tank tops. But in the hands of these young designers, the traditional fabric was rejuvenated. With their fresh eyes and creativity, they seemed to create a new genre of haute couture using batik.

“As batik is such a unique and precious element of Indonesian heritage, we wanted to give our students the opportunity to create a look using traditional batik and explore its many possibilities,” Sillem said.

Devina Himawan presented a charming ball gown made of old sogan batik. Created with unique cascading and gathering techniques, the gown had a voluptuous shape that enhanced the slim figure of the model. A discreet slit at the front of the dress added an enchanting element.

Venezia Lowis, inspired by Prambanan Temple in Magelang, Central Java, created an elegant evening dress that combined satin taffeta, batik and lurik — a traditional Javanese hand-woven cloth with a pattern of stripes. Enhanced with a faux-fur bolero jacket and a short train behind the dress, her creation was very feminine and elegant.

Corina Fubianto’s batik evening dress exuded a strong, almost mythical look. The entire dress was enhanced with intricate frills and ruffles that used up more than 30 meters of fabric. With faux-fur straps and a sexy black corset around the waist, the dress was a picture of grace and glamor.

Toward the end of the show, the students’ creations seemed to be overflowing with creativity. Bernarda Antony, in her mini collection dubbed “Corals,” presented beautiful dresses made of silk organza, linen and cotton, enhanced with intricate tie-dye techniques.

“The process was quite complicated and time-consuming,” she said. “But I truly enjoyed doing it.”

Some of the new graduates are planning to continue their studies abroad, while others will apprentice under famous Indonesian designers. Some of them are also preparing for another fashion show during Jakarta Fashion Week in November.

“They’re all very talented and inspirational,” said Stella Rissa, a fashion designer who was at the show on Thursday. “They’ve got fresh ideas and the guts to accomplish them.”

source : jakartglobe


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