JFW 2014: Dewi Fashion Knights

Jakarta Fashion Week 2014 (JFW) was a nesting ground of highly-anticipated shows, but the one show most revered among all others listed on the schedule was the Dewi Fashion Knights (DFK) show. Each year, Dewi magazine . This year, three members of the DFK old guard were selected to participate in the proceedings: Oscar Lawalata, Priyo Oktaviano, and Tex Saverio are joined by two new members who were “knighted” for this year’s show: Populo Batik and Toton.

Following selection, each label must adhere to a specific theme selected by DFK; this year’s theme just so happens to be Tale of the Goddess, and each designer was given the freedom to interpret that theme into the special collections they were presenting. We spoke to Dewi’s ultra chic Editor-in-Chief, Ni Luh Sekar, on how much creative freedom was granted to the designers, and for the reasoning behind the selection of Populo Batik and Toton into the fashion-elite fold. For further details on the interview and show highlights, check out the video below!

Oscar Lawalata

When you want the bar to be set high, you’d do well to kick things off with Oscar Lawalata. Going along with this year’s DFK theme, his personal interpretation of a goddess was a celestial being who quite literally descended from the stars. Titled My Name is Andromeda, this was a deceptively simple-looking collection, with the first sequence consisting of nothing but intricately-folded blacks and the second sequence a lot more varied in color (but less so in shape).

Through the mastery of geometric folding on meters and meters of black silk, he attempted to construct the beauty, personality, and intellect of Indonesian women in the absolute stunner that was the first sequence. The second set featured patchwork and a form of casting called moulage on tenun.

My Name is Andromeda was a very personal interpretation that celebrated the personification of the evolving perfection of Indonesian women as they hurtle towards the future without forgetting about the past. A profound message indeed, but the show was made even more memorable during the final looks walk at the very end, where it was revealed that the man himself had been hiding among his bevy of beauties while dressed in his own garb!

Populo Batik

The first of the two new inductees into the DFK hall of fame, Populo Batik was founded by Bai Sumarlono and Joseph Lim, with the express purpose of truly propelling batik into the future by modernizing designs without compromising technique. Dewi magazine has kept a keen eye on this label for a while, taking into note the consistency and quality behind each design. As firm believers in the delicate art that goes behind the creation of batik, the founders chose to shake up old school conventions by keeping it minimalistic.

By creating repetitive geometric patterns styled into very contemporary separates and dresses for men and women, Populo Batik has created something very modern while solidly remaining rooted in the past. For one, the designs themselves appear to be incredibly comfortable to wear! All Populo Batik prints were hand-drawn and stamped by artisans, meaning that they’ve created a look that does not alienate non-Indonesians who may not wholly understand the meaning of batik while still giving their audience the chance to enjoy this art form to its fullest. The special collection for the DFK show, however, was entirely hand-drawn.

Toton

Another new addition to the DFK ranks, Toton Januar has come an incredibly long way considering his label was only established in early 2012. His consistency and attention to detail earned him a much-deserved spot on the DFK roster, which does not always in. The Parsons graduate presented a special collection for DFK was titled The Sultan and The Mermaid Queen: Abyss, based on a passage in an essay by Paul Spencer, Sochaczewski, who wrote of the blurred lines between myth and reality in the Javanese culture. Through this season’s collection, he set out to expand on that very idea of cultural fluidity, as well as the “love story” that has been had between the people of Indonesia and the sea for centuries.

One of Toton’s telling style characteristics are intricately-embellished jewellery, shirt collars, and epaulets. Let’s take a minute to appreciate the craftsmanship that went behind the creation of these beauties:

Priyo Oktaviano

Have you ever been disappointed by this man’s couture line? EXACTLY. Priyo Oktaviano hits it out of the ballpark with the Galore collection, which beautifully manipulates tenun tapis from Lampung. This particular tenun is complicated to manipulate on its own, and even more so when you want to wield it to suit Priyo Oktaviano’s incredible vision.

The overall imagery the designer went for was one of grandiosity in the same vein of the Palace of Versailles. It was a clash of two flashy and ornate forms of art (architecture and weaving) from two different parts of the world, but it worked and it was spectacular. The silhouette of the designs themselves were particularly tough and androgynous (my favorite), while mixing elements that were modern. Reconstructing the tapis Lampung into silhouettes reminiscent of France’s Marie Antoinette and Louis XIV was a stroke of genius that goes to show what you can do with traditional cloths if you are not bogged down by the need to retain classic conventions.

Tex Saverio

Fresh off the heels of a successful show at Paris Fashion Week and a sequence at Indonesia Fashion Forward, the tireless and endlessly imaginative Tex Saverio presented yet another completely new collection for DFK at showed off his limitless talents as one of the country’s best avant-garde designers. The Exoskeleton collection is technically a 2014 pre-collection, which challenged the distinction between sci-fi space princess and reality. Out to prove that those two ideas can coexist on the same plane, Tex Saverio’s five-piece collection whose inspiration for the DFK theme was founded in the descent of a warrior goddess from the heavens.

A wide range of materials were used in tandem with 3-D technology, including a mesh metal molded to simulate armor, as well as a deconstructed chainmail altered into a body-hugging corset. Through this pre-collection, the designer tells the story of the future and how technology itself can continue to become the central motif in fashion.

Which look was your favorite? If you can’t get enough of Dewi Fashion Knights, be sure to check out the special microsite for more information. Until next year!