The Fashion Statement: Indonesian Designer Meets First Lady
This was a big week for Indonesian fashion designers. Not only did the President Obama make a stop in Jakarta, but he touched down right in the middle of Jakarta's fashion week. While the President was praising the ideals of democracy and development at the University of Indonesia, local designers were sending a parade of pieces down the runways hoping to establish Jakarta as a fashion hub in Asia. Backed by the Indonesian Fashion Designers Association, the goal is to catapult Indonesian designers to the international stage. So far they've mostly had success at home. Until now...
The Jakarta Globe reported this week that one designer hit the jackpot. Priyo Oktaviano snagged a chance to present the U.S. First Lady with one of his designs, a face-to-face meeting most stateside designers would KILL for! Oktaviano, who worked for Balenciaga early on in his career and is known for quirky and edgy designs, said he was contacted only six days prior to the meeting. He had one day to make a dress and a coat and he looked up Mrs. Obama's size on the Internet.
The theme of Jakarta fashion week was styling traditional wear with a modern touch. The week kicked off with a tribute to the kebaya (derived from Arabic word for clothing "abaya"), a traditional blouse and skirt combo that most Indonesian women wear. Designer Defrico Audy mixed a batik print with metallic silks and red velvets (pictured below).
Other designers stuck with modern designs. Sebastian Gunawan, another designer who got to meet Mrs. Obama, presented a 92-piece collection inspired by old icons (Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe) and new (Rihanna and Victoria Beckham). He showed gowns with high shoulders which he said look particularly good on petite women.
Modernity was not lost on other designers either. The rash of empire waist dresses paired with platform shoes were every bit worthy of catwalks in New York. And can't you almost see Beckham in the look by designer Ninik Darmawan (pictured above)?