Though the tropical rains may have come in full force, drowning the enormous tent erected in the Plaza Senayan, the show here in Jakarta went on. In 24 hours, a new runway was constructed from scratch indoors and Jakarta Fashion Week 2013 began in earnest.
Newcomer Friederich Herman scored a scholarship at Milan’s Instituto Marangoni for his collection of separates inspired by Jakarta’s legendary traffic jams. His imagination stirred while stuck on the streets for hours at a time, studying the various angles of the buildings as he passed them slowly, he implemented the perspective to his array of sharply cut two-toned tailoring, razor sharp in the front, cut-away or deconstructed at the back. Rendered in a smattering of graphic prints, the odd piece came drenched in a metallic sheen reminiscent of spilled oil.
Former boy band member Toton showcased an upbeat assortment of white shirting adorned with traditionally inspired hand embroidery or flowing sheer panels, jewel tone trousers and coat dresses—each look topped off with hand-constructed mesh wire Indonesian warrior headgear.
From the British Council’s Fashion Forward showcase (where London’s Centre for Fashion Enterprise mentors a select group of designers) came Dian Pelangi. The explosion of sunny colours, tribal patterns and twisted layers were in keeping with the rules of Muslim-wear, catering to the country’s large Islamic population. Each girl’s head was decadently wrapped with towering scarves that were at once striking and in keeping with the modest code.
Bretzel dove down under the sea, adorning commercial cotton separates with twisted crochet hats, leg pieces and breast-coverings for something more tactile, while Jeffrey Tan gleaned manga inspiration, sending his intricately crafted glittery and floral appliqué creations down the runway to the tune of the Sailor Moon theme song, and Barli Asmara sent Pocahontas to Java, mashing batik-esque patterns with beaded and feathered accents.
At the Dewi Magazine (Indonesia’s leading fashion glossy)-sponsored show, Spous by Priyo Octaviano channelled Gareth Pugh with a monochrome-punk collection. He was followed by the softer Sapto Djojokartiko who presented burn-out cream minidresses and boyfriend jackets, daintily embroidered with pearl and crystal. Oscar Lawalata showed a heavily fringed 1920s-inspired tone-on-tone collection.
But the stand out of the week was young Yosafat Dwi Kurniawan (also part of the U.K.’s nurturing scheme). He screen-printed statues from one of the country’s oldest temples onto form-flattering shift dresses, sheer chiffon blouses, sculpted blazers and an evening column. Tiny satin shorts embellished with silver beading imbued the pinnacles of the temple as seen from above. His collection at once displayed a luxury-aware sensibility steeped in an individual aesthetic very much in tune with the whims of Western fashion.
Diverse, intricately crafted and undeniably passionate, Indonesia’s fashion industry may still be developing, but much like the temperatures that rage here in Jakarta, it is certainly an incubator of up and coming talent.