Behind The Scene: 9 Summers 10 Autumns-NYC Wardrobe Production

By: Khairiyyah Sari


Making a movie is difficult already, let along during one of the worst natural disasters in 2012.

I immediately said yes, when Iwan Setyawan asked me to do styling for the movie 9 Summers 10 Autumns based on his best-selling book. Not just because we are good friends, but I see a great opportunity in terms of experience as I was never interested on becoming a wardrobe stylist for a movie before.

My main responsibility was to support the main actor, Ihsan Tarore, the 2006 Indonesian Idol winner and the main character of the book, for the New York scene.  The Indonesian scene wardrobe was done by the lovely Ms. Liza Mashita from Danjyo Hiyoji. The opportunity that was given to me has brought a valuable  and memorable experience.

Picking a suitable wardrobe for the main character wasn’t that difficult. Iwan and Ihsan are similar when it comes to their body type. I am fully aware of the author’s sense of style. While we were in New York City, I encouraged Iwan to try on clothes from various brands. Together, we shopped around Soho and the Village neighborhoods.

To create the NYC look, I received help from my designer close friend, also a former New Yorker, Auguste Soesastro. We tried to obtain ideas from the wardrobe of our friends and my husband.

While Liza created a wardrobe from the 80s and 90s during the author’s difficult  period, the NYC wardrobe must represent the modern looks from the year 2000 to 2010. We showcased the author’s dress code back where he hadn’t established his fashion consciousness yet. The later part of this period showcased Iwan’s fashion sense reflected in his income level – acquiring prominent men brands such as, but not limited to Brooks Brothers, Thom Browne, Philip Lim and in-house designers of Barney’s.

Iwan’s style is preppy downtown, polished and very put together.  So I played with fitted blazers, color skinny pants, tuxedos, loafers, shirts, jeans, limited edition converse, bermuda shorts, and last but not least, the men handbags. Yes, Iwan carries a big bag most of the time to put his personal belongings, giving the overall look preppy with a glimpse of  pizzazz.


Shooting Days

We arrived  in New York on October 24th, 2012. The Jakarta film crew consisted of 7 people including the author, Iwan, accompanied by 2 suitcases of wardrobe and props. I flew to NYC a month earlier for vacation, and there was no way I could bring those wardrobe and props along with all of my personal outfits.  Auguste didn’t come to NY as he had to prepare his collection for Jakarta Fashion Week, so I had to personally arrange all of the outfits.

The crew stayed at the Indonesian Consulate Residence KJRI (Konsulat Jendral Republik Indonesia)  located at the most prestigious zip code in the entire New York City-between Madison and Fifth Avenue, a two minute walk to Central Park on the Upper East Side. You will feel like Serena and Blair Waldorf of Gossip Girls whenever you stroll around this neighborhood.

I put all of the props and accessories and hung the entire wardrobe on the ‘gawangan’ which I borrowed from a friend (Jay, a New Yorker, who was also our makeup artist for this production) in the biggest room at KJRI.

We had 22 outfits prepared from Jakarta (22 outfits is actually considered nothing in the history of movie production which usually has hundreds or even thousands of clothes prepared). Additionally, I have also prepared a backup set of clothes which could be tailored according to the Director’s, Ifa Isfansyah, liking which is a mandatory in the movie making industry.

The first 3 days of shooting, we went around East Village, Long Island, Upper East Side and Brooklyn. It was such a nice, sunny, fall weather which made the wardrobe that I have prepared suitable for this type of weather. Though sometimes Ihsan complained “Aduuuhh mba Sariiii dingin banget udaranyaa” as this was his first trip to the States, whenever I changed my mind  and omitted the blazer or scarf from his entire outfit.

We drove around the shooting locations in a big van that can fit 13 people, including all the necessary items, such as cameras, snacks, water, wardrobe and props. As we had a huge van, Ihsan was able to change his outfit in the van.

There was one day that we had to shoot at 4 o’clock in the morning for the Subway train station scene, despite the fact that we had just  finished filming at 11 pm the night before. The sun wasn’t up yet and the weather was cold and windy when Ihsan had to wear a thin top and bermuda shorts. It was pretty tough for him since he had to walk quite far from the parking lot to the station. While waiting for shooting to end, Jay and I took a quick beauty sleep inside the van whenever we could.


Welcoming Sandy

The worst hurricane in the US history came to greet us. On Monday afternoon, Oct 29th, 2012, hurricane Sandy reached New York, New Jersey and other parts of the East Coast. We had no idea how bad this hurricane was. That morning, the rain poured down non-stop, however, we still managed to shoot some scenes around Times Square and Fifth Avenue. There was no van for us that day, so we had to walk to both locations.

Still, I had to bring the wardrobe, right? So the strategy was to put the entire wardrobe inside my old black nylon Prada carry-on bag. Despite my carry on being wet on the outside but the whole wardrobe inside was uncompromised, not even a tiny drop of wet spot, just to show the quality of the bag. As a stylist, this is very important, people.

Not only it was pouring rain but it was also accompanied by strong winds. One crew had to follow Ihsan with an umbrella to cover his outfit. Despite of the rough weather condition, Ihsan, with a borrowed loose jumper, bermuda shorts and dark brown loafers, completely soaked from the rain, did his job in front of The Plaza Hotel. Ifa managed to capture that moment. Well, there’s always laundry to fix everything, right?

It was quite a long walk to Times Square. It was difficult to find a cab as hurricane Sandy drew near. As we found out from the news the day before (Sunday), the New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, announced that all major transportation had to be shut down by 7 pm and it was very important for the public to stay inside as the hurricane was predicted to reach the city by 8 pm on Monday.

At 2 pm, we were still at Times Square, which was deserted which is pretty rare for this area. Despite of the heavy rain, we were still able to finish a number of scenes. By 4 pm, we reached the Consulate and waited for the arrival of Sandy which came roaring. It was a horrifying thing to experience.   The hurricane arrived 2 hours earlier than predicted and caused major chaos in the city.


The Show Must Go On

A day after Sandy, we were planning to shoot in Central Park, but of course the park was closed to public. In fact, all parks in NYC were closed for the next 3 days. We saw many giant tree trunks on the street and some trees crashed on parked cars. But hey, we still had work to do. So we continued shooting on the following day. We shot around Lincoln Center and Radio City Music Hall.

The scene that day was about Iwan wandering around the area as he loves theater and opera so much. I put on a cute two-piece suit from Jeffry Tan with a polka dot shirt and mismatched polka dot bow tie, borrowed from a friend who is a fashion editor. I think this look is probably the look that I love the most. It’s so Iwan but also has a sense of edgyness with the jodhpur-like black trousers. Ihsan also loves this look. It just different from his daily look.

There’s also a scene where Iwan has to go back to Indonesia for good. He wore a cardigan and a checkered scarf which on a glimpse looks like a ‘sarung’ material. Just to show that Iwan can play with anything close to home and style it.

Due to Sandy, we had to extend our shooting for another 4 days. The most challenging day we faced was probably on our last day of shooting. The temperature was -2 Celsius and we had to shoot around and near Central Park, at the pond, to be exact. It was freaking freezing. I had to run to the not-so-nearest store to buy gloves for the crew including the cameramen.

The black jacket that Ihsan wore in this scene was probably the best piece of the entire wardrobe selection. It was a Christian Dior fall collection that I borrowed from a fashionista friend. :)

Anyway,  I’ve learned many things after 10 days of shooting. One of them is that movie making is a difficult work. As part of the crew, we had to wait for hours just to get the best shot, so we had many free hours of waiting. As an (sometimes) impatient person, I thank God that our team brought a lot of joy so I was never bored. Despite of the tremendous destruction caused by hurricane Sandy, the whole experience has made us closer as a team.

So, ladies, this first movie production by Angka Fortuna Sinema is definitely a must see movie of 2013!