JFW 2012 Day 3: Traditional Material Takes a Modern Turn at Oscar Lawalata

It was perhaps one of the most anticipated shows for me from Jakarta Fashion Week 2012. I have high expectation for Oscar Lawata because his collection last year was just exceptional. Especially this year he’s collaborating with the British Milliner Justin Smith who created some of the most interesting hats you ever seen. Oscar and Justin met last year where they began the talk of collaboration. They do extensive research before they finally came with the idea for collaboration. Justin made few visits to Indonesia and travel to Yogyakarta and Borneo for his research purposes together with Oscar. We had some inside scoop already from Oscar on what the collection was going to be like, which made us even more excited. Like what we said on part two of the collaboration’s interview with Justin, it would be interesting to see how hats that are very British thing could be translated into something that is acceptable to Indonesian market. Especially that Oscar’s collection will certainly touch that traditional traits.

I heard the mentioning of ‘straw hats’ being one of the biggest inspirations for Justin. But I really don’t see how that would fit in with the overall picture of Oscar’s high fashion collection. Knowing that both of them visited Borneo, and of course a glimpse of last year’s collection, I still thought that Oscar’s collection would revolve around weave again.

Boy, was I wrong! The show opened with a bang of series of gorgeous dresses made from Javanese batik. When I say batik dresses and you’re thinking something along the line of what you see in a bazaar? You’re certainly very wrong. These are batik used in a way you’d never seen before. It was so cleverly done with little touches here and there. There were so many attire done with batik nowadays, but they were all so over the top and screams ‘We have to appreciate this piece, just because it’s made from batik!’. I have yet to see a creating that actually uses batik and actually looks very NOW! Oscar truly reincarnated batik – and also other traditional textiles used that night – to a presentable modern form of clothing.

Oscar didn’t only use batik in this collection but also carefully curated handmade pieces of ikat from Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali, Samba, Flores, islands in South East Nusa and Maluku. They were then translated to modern form through his signature contemporary cutting that you can see immediately from the shapes of clothes that it’s somehow very Oscar.

The best part of all is that the collaboration truly worked with head pieces created by Justin Smith and they – if I may borrow his favourite word – ‘organically’ blended into Oscar’s clothes. They didn’t look as if they were created by two different designers, at all. Although I’m excited seeing all the head pieces – which I’m dying to have, but still wonder where I would use them – but letting these pieces took the center stage also means we didn’t got to see the to-die-for accessories like from Oscar show last year.

But the best always came last, don’t you agree? The minimalist pieces in black with just a strip of traditional textile were just making us gawking at it crazily! We want them all!

And here’s a picture of the two designers, smiling from ear to ear for their sucessfull collaboration.

Without much further ado, here, I present you the pictures of Oscar Culture collection. Take a cup of tea with you and a moment to enjoy it. Because they’re just breathtakingly beautiful.