Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wedding Gowns

If by any chance you are following my career and what I do in terms of fashion and collections, you would've known by now that I am not famous for making wedding gowns of any kind. In fact few knows that I actually do custom design, let alone bridal gowns. But I do.

Not that this post is any kind of promotion. I leave that to my tumblr page, really.. lol

This post is about the gratifying feeling that I got from designing a wedding gown for a client recently.

A wedding dress by any definition is perhaps the one time that I think a woman should be willing to splurge. Sure sure, I can go on and on about how this is the biggest day of your life, or how the pictures are going to last on your living room wall for the rest of your life. Some people could also throw in an argument about how this dress is only going to be worn once, hence it's silly to spend a fortune on it (while ridiculously, I think it's the more reason to spend more!!)

So this client of mine, Melissa, is in person a happy energetic person. She has a petite frame, and is such a true modernist, it's kinda amazing!
She mentioned to me that she wanted a phoenix on her dress (a request that I hesitated at first, but then comply when we settled on the most non tacky placement).
She wants a classic shape, but still being different and has a dramatic flare. I managed to convincer her to go without crinoline (a piece of undergarment that looks like a bird cage and give puffy construction on the skirt, like dresses back in the Victorian era), which I personally think is not for everyone.
So for me, the classic 'New Look' Silhouette is for her. Light corsetry on the bodice, tight fitting to the waist. And then the skirt just go out and flared, with the dramatic beaded long train.
We used a lot of lace to create the feminine effect, we cut every single flower of the lace and arrange it again in a symmetrical manner. All re-attached and sew by hand!

So here we go.. hope you like it as much as I (and she) did!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Local Designer I love

It has dawned on me that I haven't been posting anything for quite sometime now. Well, do accept my apology for that. Work have been keeping me busy. We're working with Jakarta Fashion Week and the Center for Fashion Enterprise, but that's something that I will spill later on.

I really want to dedicate this post to the Indonesian designer that I found to be great and inspiring. I personally know some of the people in this list, and I greatly admire them for their work and their personality.

Let's start with the most obvious favorite designer of mine...


I was recently at his annual show titled Foliage. This show is probably the equivalent of the Chanel show in Paris. Thousands of invited guests, it was a little bit of chaos trying to seat everyone accordingly. All the media heavy hitters were there, and it was quite a scene! I have been to many fashion shows, I have never seen a commotion like this. Aside from the obvious press and loyal clientele of his, there were also a flock of young designers (myself included) who attended the show, trying to figure out his recipe as to become a master in this field.
Biyan reminded me a lot of my own personal favorite master from Belgium, Dries Van Noten. But what's different about Biyan is that this is like taken to the next level. All the fabrics and embellishments were nothing like I've ever seen before (and this was confirmed by fellow designers Albert Yanuar and Jeffry Tan). But the amazing thing was the way he works with those elaborate fabrics and cut them in the most simple way. The juxtaposition of the very elaborate textile and the simple pattern cutting strike the perfect balance, the way that a lot of designer in Indonesia seem to forget that most of the time, less is definitely enough.
What I love about his as well is that his sensibility is so international. Proven that so far, he's the only ready-to-wear designer in Indonesia with a luxury market that has penetrated the international market.


Moving away from the pret-a-porter section to the couture section. Adrian Gan definitely is on top of my list of Indonesia's amazing couturiers. He's not the flashiest of all designers, in fact he's probably shown less amongst his peers. But when he does show, oh-la-la.. the fashion crowd would stop and just admire his creations. 
Nobody, and I mean nobody in Jakarta does the thing that he does so well. Combination of art and architectural piece is definitely expected when seeing one of his shows. There's always the drama, and yet they make you wonder about the techniques and all the construction that must've gone in making those amazing dresses.
Famously being of the most expensive ones in Jakarta as well, you can appreciate his creations by looking at how his clients would all be proud of what they're wearing (and the long list of super important clients of his).


A friend, mentor, creative genius. With no fashion education background, Barli is one of the most talented person I know in fashion. His 2008 Jakarta Fashion Week collection was the 1st show that I watched which literally had me leaning towards the runway (if not stopped by my friend) to touch the garment as it was just that magnificent.
Since then I was lucky enough to have been his assistant sometime in 2009. His creative energy and what I can say is just hawk-eye have taught me a lot about detailing and how to justify putting those thousands of dollars price tag on a garment. His later exploration has involved ancient technique 'macrame', while previous collections have explored the smocking technique (which I personally witnessed), and the pattern magic (yes, that incredible pattern book from Japan), that he translated into sensuous complicated but understated collection.
2 years ago he was finally selected to be the member of IPMI, the prestigious fashion designer association (alongside the late Adesagi), who hosted the likes of Ghea, Biyan, Adrian Gan, and the dozens of high powered important fashion designers. A very well deserved achievement.


I met him when I was a dresser, backstage at his fashion show in JCC, a random Sunday on 2008 (I think). What I saw back then was the definition of well made. I kid you now, I have never seen any garment so well made and so precisely cut in a symmetrical way in my life, and I stand by that opinion today (ironically being a designer myself).
There are a lot of couturier in Indonesia, but I think (disregarding the French regulation, of course) in my humble opinion, he's the only one in Indonesia worthy of the title 'haute'. On his twitter page, he describes himself as a couture Nazi, and I kinda see the point. 
On his couture collection on the previous Jakarta Fashion Week, He uses the bias tape technique, which obviously all of us working in fashion has done. My friend described it as nothing special almost. But on a rare occasion where I get to dissect his collection furthermore, I found that those tapes are 0.3cm in width, consistently all over the garment, without any seam connecting the bias tape (which means that the bias tape was cut in one line only), and they ended up in a perfect square, instead of the regular 'easy' round shape.
Now it takes a really meticulous person to do that (my seamster would leave me in the morning if I try to pull that one on them). His sense of perfection make him on top of his game, despite the fact that he has the youngest career from everyone in this list. 

So there you go, the part 1 of my favorite Indonesia designer list. It just dawned on me that they are B-A-B-A, really didn't think about that until just now.

I will make the list a lot longer. But enjoy this one for the moment..


Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Supported by Dulux
Many thanks to the IFW 2012 team!
Shoes by Sepatukubaru and Wed's

IFW 2012

The second major fashion week in Jakarta, Indonesia Fashion Week was held on the 4th week of February 2012. It was the first ever Indonesia Fashion Week and I was lucky enough to be a part of it!

Organized by the APPMI (Indonesian Fashion Designer Association) the events went beyond only showcasing the works of their members but also inviting newer designers and brands to also showcase their collections there.

Their concept is mixing fashion shows with trade shows, with over 400 exhibitors on the trade show part and 122 designers and brands showing their collection during the fashion shows. Yours truly was lucky enough to both be the exhibitor and show alongside the many great fashion designers.

The trade show itself was the most massive yet in Indonesia, as you can imagine over 400 brands showcasing under one roof, it could be a little bit messy. I had a feeling that my brand was misplaced and mixed up amongst the more traditional handcrafted garments, while it was probably best to put me on the main lobby alongside the other more similar brands out there.

But then again, it was their 1st attempt on doing this. And for an organization managing over 400 brands under one huge space, I believe can be quite an insanely hard job. Maybe we don't need 400 brands next year, maybe less but more quality is better than more brands and yet the quality is not up for the international standard.

Also a note to the organizers, the trade show turned out to be more of a massive bazaar instead of a trade show. This is perhaps because some of the brands are not ready for a real trade show, or this is perhaps because there weren't enough buyers who actually are looking to buy in wholesale.

But on this note, I'm still very optimistic that the trade show of IFW 2013 will be much better than before!

The fashion show part on the other hand was very well organized. I can't speak for the other designers, but for me, it was one of the most organized show I've ever done in my life! Everyone was very professional, the staffs were very helpful, even the sponsors were very understanding and kind enough to accommodate us.

I was picked to show alongside 4 other outstanding young designers, Imelda Kartini, Albert Yanuar, Jeffry Tan, and Nina Nikicio. First of all, I am so proud and happy that I was recognized and appreciated enough to be showing alongside these amazing and very successful designers!

We were sponsored and supported by Dulux, which as I have said before were also one of the best, most supportive sponsors ever! We were assigned concepts which really made the entire collection made sense as a whole. The creative freedom was also really appreciated.

On that note, critics were really on the model selection. As usual, designers were assigned to their models. And the models that I got was a mix of some of the most professional models and the most amateur newbie in the industry. One model actually showed up backstage in an undergarment that was really inappropriate for a model (think oversized brief with cartoon characters on it), given she was 16 year old, but it really put a lot of stress to us the designers who were already stressed enough. Next time probably involve some of the designers so the quality of the models can be exactly what the designer needs.

But the press that we got was massive, some of the magazines that didn't know me before suddenly took notice. The international media attention were also great! This famous website from Australia called did a full coverage of my collection. Some other medias from Southeast Asia and Europe were also present and requested an interview with me after the show. A week later the garments were shipped to Paris for a photo shoot with Elle, and once it landed in Jakarta, Nylon and AMICA lined up to do a fashion spread with it. This is such an incredible honor because this is the first time my collection will appear in the pages of these magazines!

So thank you Indonesia Fashion Week team for an unbelievable experience! It was really challenging and fun! Also I get to meet new friends from the media and the designers that were involved in IFW. I want to thank InStyle magazine team who were a great help with dealing with the media and the show producers, and of course all of you my buyers, customers, media friends, readers and friends, who always support me. I really am nothing without you guys!

The photos of the collection I did for IFW 2012 are coming shortly on the next post!

Love you readers!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In Memoriam: Adesagi Kierana (1977-2012)

I had barely survived the fantastic and yet exhausting New Year morning that Sunday afternoon when my cellphone rang and my dear friend, Soko Wiyanto informed me the news about the passing of Adesagi Kierana. At first I debated it, with hopes that it might have been just some hoax and that it was actually a re-occuring news about his mother who also just passed away not so long ago.

But a few minutes later, a tweet from Era Soekamto confirmed the most heartbreaking news for Indonesian Fashion World, Adesagi Kierana had passed away at 5pm in Bandung, West Java. With him was one of the owners of the Upper East boutique Randy Yan.

The celebration of the New Year had officially ended, and instead it turned into the gloomiest day in Indonesian Fashion.

Adesagi Kierana was only 34 years old when he passed away. It wasn't long ago that I witnessed him and Barli Asmara being inaugurated as members of IPMI (Indonesian Council of Fashion Designers) which is a very prestigious-by-invitation-only organization of designers, all which were many years his seniors (list includes Biyan, Sebastian Gunawan, Adrian Gan, etc.) , he was the youngest member. His greatness and talent was being appreciated and recognized by his much more senior peers.

He was one of the greats, I remembered him suddenly appeared out of obscurity when he was included as one of the big talents in the Fashion First store. His works in contrast of many of his peers focus a lot on colors and puffy silhouette, pointing out the glamorous side and the big bold personality of a woman. He gained more and more respect in the fashion world for being different and have something to say in the industry where everything looks the same everyday.

One of my favorite collection of his was the one he did for Fashion Nation in 2009, when he did a collection based on Cindy Lauper's personality, and true to her 'True Color' he exploded the volume and colors in a way that was surprisingly editorial and yet absolutely wearable at the same time.

His follow up collection didn't disappoint as well. Looking back at the Jakarta Fashion Week in 2010 when he did a collection titled "In Love With You Again" when I saw his take on volume and couture. He reminded me of Christian Lacroix for his daring, bold, and out there design. In terms of runway he never shy away from being bold, theatrical and experimental. His textiles are absolutely adorable and always very luxurious.

The last show of his that I witnessed was "Almost Famous" collection during the IPMI Trend Show, where not only I witnessed his greatness, I witnessed how loved he is amongst his friends and peers. It was probably one of the most star studded show, Titi DJ and Ruth Sahanaya made an appearance on the runway, likewise were all the celebrities and socialites and all the important people who showered him with flowers after the finale.

Adesagi Kierana, was also an amazing example on how perseverance and hard work would really get you very far. From what I know about him, he started with a very small workshop, and moved his way up to being one of the biggest fashion designer in Indonesian Fashion today. A lot of people see where he is right now, though some few will never forget where he started and how he built over his career.

Me and him never actually get to know each other more personally other than casual 'hello' when we happen to stumble each other on events or something, but judging by some how great his relationship is with a lot of his friends, I can say that he must have been one hell of a great friend to be around. It is one of my biggest regret not to get to know him much better.

Adesagi Kierana, you have left a big mark in Indonesian Fashion, we all love you and are very saddened by your passing. I have certainly been influenced by your work, and I'm pretty sure many others too. I hope that your legacy will live on, and that more and more will be inspired by your work.

Ps: I've been reading some really hateful comment about the news of his passing on the internet. Outraged is really how I felt when i read those. He is to be respected for his kindness as a human being and his greatness as a designer, and should never be condemned for any lifestyle choices that he made. After all his private life belong to him and should anyone dare to judge, he should be the one who's ashamed of himself.

Friday, November 25, 2011

DICHOTOMY - Jakarta Fashion Week 2012

The 2nd time I'm showing at the Jakarta Fashion Week under my own label, and this time , I was incredibly honored to be picked out of obscurity by Femina Group (Mr. Diaz Parsada), to represent a mega brand in celebrating the launch of their new product, NOKIA N9.

So the mood is different, the pressure is 4 times the usual. While I usually put out a collection and put my name under the line, this time it is also NOKIA, and the nice people from Femina Group who decided to pick me.

This is also my 1st wholesale/ready-to-wear collection (so all you buyers and business people interested, don't hesitate to call me), so the whole conceptual is under the bridge now, this is all about the clothes and the fact that it needed to be wearable, every single piece.

So hopefully you readers like the collection, feel free to contact me!

Models: Tari, Nadya Purwoko, Vivi, Chika, Caroline, Brenda, Wita, Carissa, Lita Chan, Filantropi, Sarah Azka, Dhenok
Coreography: Wawan Soeharto
Shoes: WED's for Yosafat

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The 4 Designers

In my eyes there are 4 types of fashion designer: The Architect, The Romanticist, The Story Teller, and The Practical. Strange as it seems I can always categorize the designers in all 4 major fashion capital into these 4 categories, and they are amazing in their own way, and they're not always either or, they could also be both an architect and a romanticist, or a particularly romantically practical. But let me explain to you what I mean by these.

The Practical, also known as the sporty or the cool designers are the type of designers that you see their collections and they don't necessarily tell you a story or anything, but somehow you are drawn to buy their clothes. Their look is distinct, and generally singular enough that you can tell that a person is wearing their design. These kinds of designers mostly grow successful in New York City, where practicality is a very important thing in American fashion.

For example, on top of my head is Mr. Michael Kors. Coming to a Michael Kors fashion show, you don't expect a big creative extravaganza, you just see clothes that are desirable for rich women who loves fashion and yet don't want to wear 7 layers of corset just to look luxurious. It's true that New York is the perfect breeding place for these kinds of designers. From the old fashion type like Donna Karan to the younger generation like Thakoon and Prabal Gurung are the perfect example of the new generation of the Practical group.

Michael Kors -

Distinct traits: Rarely does a garment consist of too many undergarment, never too fussy or difficult to wear, very modern and somewhat simple, in a collection the most part of it is the daywear.

The Romanticist, also known as the poet are the type of designers that makes you dream through their clothes. There's always a romantic flare to their collection that getting an item from their collection is like getting a companion that has a long story to it. Sometimes with this kind of designers, practicality is not the main component, and yet their clothes are generally very beautiful and dreamy. These kinds of designers love drama, but a controlled kind of drama.

These kinds of designers I love to watch the most. They put so much love and passion into their work, you can see the collection talk to you. Most of their works looks like Haute Couture pieces that are not only beautiful but also very precious and that is something that you can pass on from generation to generation.

Vera Wang is one of our lovely romanticists that has a success story. There's something about her work, the way she always treats he clothes and how she layers things like layering tulle over organza and it makes it look like clouds. They are not the most accessible of all clothes but they make you dream and that's the important thing. Giambattista Valli is one of my favorite romanticist, Olivier Theyskens' works also excites me season after season, while Jason Wu is our new protege in the fashion romanticist universe that also caught my attention. Alber Elbaz for Lanvin and Rick Owens are the kind of romanticists who keep their ideals and yet still very successful in the business.

Giambattista Valli -

Distinct traits: Volume-layers-corsetry-intricate undergarments are common in this type of designers, dramatic but still wearable, a lot of evening pieces generally.

On that note, there are several romanticist who are also happen to be a practical kind of designer as well! Dries Van Noten who is one of my favorites manages to combine poetry and romance with simplicity. His works are always very simple, but the way he uses prints and colors are somehow very poetic. Dolce & Gabbana could also be put in this category, they manages to be one of the most commercial brand in the business but never leave behind a great story or inspiration behind every collection.

The third kind is the Architect. The Architect respects techniques more than results. The simplest look could be achieved with the most difficult ways possible. But because of that perfectionist nature of their aesthetic they are the most appreciated. An Architect must know how to construct a design from scrap. They most of the time knows how to not only design but also cut and sew. As important as the theme, inspiration and story line for them, the work that goes behind it is still the most important.

Architecture and construction is also a main focus of these kinds of designers. Their designs are mostly focusing on the cuts. Embellishments are added to accentuate the cuts rather than as a main focus of the outfit itself.

Of course the first and the greatest of the fashion architects is Cristobal Balenciaga. Famous as being the only couturier in his time who can make a garment from sketching to finishing all by himself, and wouldn't mind cutting a dress himself if he doesn't see it being perfect. Luckily his successor Nicholas Ghesquiere shares the same idealism. In the 80s we also know the late Gianfranco Ferre and Giorgio Armani, and while now Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein and Raf Simmons for Jil Sander could be pointed out as the modern fashion architects.

Balenciaga -

Distinct traits: the looks are generally very simple, intricate and complicated construction, embellishment are generally minimum and are used to accentuate the cut, they're not always the most colorful of most designers, perfect sewing and execution.

A romanticist architects happen to also exist nowadays. My most favorite is Ricardo Tisci of Givenchy, who combines his flare of drama with the incredible and impeccable techniques which made exceptional collections, especially the haute couture collections.

While a practical architects are also budding and getting very successful. Pheobe Philo for Celine has proved that you can be constructed and still very minimal and yet commercial at the same time.

The last one is the Story-Teller, mostly resides in Paris, though the newer generation emerges a lot London. A story teller designer lives a fantasy world with their collections. Not only they are brilliant designers, their collections took you to places, even some place that doesn't exist in real life.

Famous for being dramatic and over the top sometimes, their fashion shows are always the ones to watch. Though much of the sellable interpretation might be not as passionate or as dramatic as the runway version. They are not afraid of colors, prints, bold silhouette, and certainly not afraid to shock and be controversial, raising a lot of questions and somehow, sometimes, scares you.

Techniques are always complicated with these kinds of designers, but merely to support their concept and the story line of their collection.

For the most of it, these kinds of designers did not exist until the 90s. The earlier generation of these l'enfant terrible is Jean Paul Gaultier. He was famous for putting the underwear as outerwear, which was insanely controversial back in the days. John Galliano and Alexander McQueen were also true story-teller designers, their collections year after year didn't stop shocking people, in true fashion their lives are too dramatic as well. McQueen who ended up killing himself, and Galliano who tragically ended his own career at Dior with his racial slur.

Alexander McQueen-the Met Exhibition

Distinct traits: dramatic colors-silhouette-patterns, heavy on embellishments, always have a story line with each collection, see beauty on their own ways.

A story-teller architect designer that has been getting big and big lately is Gareth Pugh. Also a British, he's famous for being dramatic and punk-ish, but still manages to show his genius cut through each garments year after year after year.

So, what kind of designer do you like?