JFW 2012 Day 1: A Dream of Becoming the Regional Fashion Week

The anticipated Jakarta Fashion Week (JFW) officially opened yesterday with the first show titled ‘Alliance of Beauty’ showcasing this region’s four most talented designers; Biyan (Indonesia), Ashley Isham (Singapore), Bernard Chandran (Malaysia) and Tube Gallery (Thailand). It’s no coincidence that the event coincided with the ASEAN Summit held in Bali and SEA Games in Palembang, which is why the opening was done by these top notch designers from South East Asia. It is probably one of the first time that an ASEAN designers share the same runway at a fashion week. It embodied a dream, that JFW could in the future become the regional fashion week. Each passing year JFW never fails to surprise us because they’ve grown better each time and we hope that this dream is not too far away in the future.

It’s not too much if I say there should be no other designer that should represent Indonesia at the runway today than Biyan. His extraordinary work without doubt never ceased to amaze us. With all the grandness of his intricate beading work and the way he always mixes textiles and patterns will never become passé. Biyan’s collection at this show still follow the same traits from his collection ‘The Orient Revisited‘, however it was instilled with some new colours and details. Somehow, it has less of the Blue China and Chinese porcelain feeling from the  collection shown at his yearly show in Hotel Mulia, and more of those good Biyan drama.

Don’t you think these killer heels are so tempting to get? If only they’re not 20cm high.

Bernard Chandran from Malaysia has made quite a name in London and Europe. His track record in the international fashion foray started when his first boutique in London was opened in Knightsbridge back in January 2004. Since then, he has come a long way and his collections are already available all over the world, namely Europe, Dubai, China, Japan and Korea. He’s also a regular in London Fashion Week. Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Tori Amos are some of the celebrities who have been spotted with his collection. When asked what is the secret behind his success in reaching out to the overseas market? He said that as a designer you must first conquer your own country and be the best designer there, only after that you can try to conquer the international market. Chandran success probably lies in his believe to instil Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and Eastern culture influences into his design. That is also perhaps what makes him stand out from the designers in the European market. I was expecting colours from his collection like what he had done for Fall/Winter 2011 collection, instead there were a lot of flesh and silver tones.

Tube Gallery which came next became one of my favourites, apart from Biyan of course. This label, founded in 1991, was created by two Thailand designesr – Phisit Jongnarangsin and Saksit Pisalasupongs. Their collection is fun and flirty using some of the most interesting lollipop colours! I personally love silk, chiffon and anything light that fall just perfect on the body. The mixture of the textile that they chose and colours were just my cup of tea. There’s a little bit of that retro-ish feeling about the colours and the design itself.

The Singaporean designer Ashley Isham, known for his drapery technique and sharp tailoring, closed the show. The collection vividly tells you why he is known for what he is. I was however kind of distracted by the drama going on the head pieces. It took the attention away from the outfit. You’ll see the best of both of his signature, drapery and tailoring, being implemented in the same dress.

You’ll also see those jewel tones dresses, seen at the London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 at the show. But drapery is what ties the whole collection together.

So which designer is your favourite?