JFW 2013: This Season’s Trends in the Hand of Asian Designers

The opening night of Jakarta Fashion Week 2013 (JFW 2013) opened with two big names from Asia: Lie Sang Bong, a Paris-based designer from South Korea, and Sebastian Gunawan from Indonesia.

Oftentimes, when it comes to Asian designers, they usually highlight their Asian roots to the point of coming across as overwhelming. In Indonesian designers’ case, let me say that I have enough of brokat modern, batik modern, tenun modern, and whatever textile with “modern” added afterward. I’d like a breath of fresh air and see something innovative and different. Especially from a big name designer such as Sebastian Gunawan, I’d really like to see something that is in sync with the season’s trend that has been echoing all over the fashion capitals. Not just putting a silhouette that is currently trending into yet another kain nusantara or brokat, but putting a complete work on a collection that is truly one’s own.

For the last couple of seasons, especially after seeing last year’s JFW 2012 collection at Dewi Fashion Knight, I have big expectations toward Sebastian Gunawan or Seba – as he’s more commonly called. When I saw the first two looks of the collection, I haven’t exactly figured out what was going on here. But then as the third, fourth, until the last look came out one by one, I suddenly found myself floored by the collection that Seba brought to the stage of the opening night. Pure beauty. The designs mimic the stone and Italian tile with beautiful patterns that I often see at the veranda that is translated by the leather embellishment and patchwork. There were many laces on the runway and when I saw it, the word ‘haute couture’ came to mind. There were also silhouettes that are currently trending, such as peplum cut, moulette skirt, off the shoulder top as well as cape on the collection. Well done Seba, you’ve made us proud.

Lie Sang Bong, a South Korean designer with celebrity clients such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Rihanna on his list actually presented his collection first. It was as mind blowing and definitely well executed, with re-occurring theme such as butterflies, houndstooth and intricate origami style. He’s currently based in Paris, so there’s no doubt of the quality of his design. He’s shown us that the combination of two big details together, when it’s well executed and carried out, can be elegant. Once again, there’s affirmation in his collection that peplum is definitely going to be big this season and the next.

Two things came to mind when I stepped out of the fashion tent last night: one, I really need to get something with peplum cut and two, I need to get a chic raincoat as shown at Lie Sang Bong’s final look or a beautiful outerwear shown in Seba’s collection.