Depending on your perspective, Biyan Wanaatmadja of Biyan presented his spring summer show either at the most opportune moment or simply a wrong time.
On Tuesday night, guests filed into the spacious ballroom of Ritz Carlton Hotel before the large curtains parted, revealing a backdrop of forest at the beginning of the runway. The idea of lightness and romance for spring may be predictable. Almost all of the looks are filled with the motifs of flower, the usual depiction of springtime, but gaze beyond the dainty and elegant surface of the clothes and it’s the small little details that hold your attention.
The element that stood out the most is the texture. Biyan employed various techniques like embroidery, patchwork, beading and macramé that instilled the pieces with tactile quality. Standout looks include a gauzy coat with tiny white blossoms enveloping the entire body as if the model has just rolled out of a bed of daisies. Babydoll dresses are amped up with lace and flower embroideries before decorated with another sheer layer of artfully placed flower motifs.
Before the show, Biyan also mentioned he took inspiration from 19th century Russian painter, Ivan Kuzmich Marakov for the colour palette of this collection in particular. Marakov is known for portraying nobles, especially mothers and children in an aesthetic that is supercharged with soft femininity. This quality of mother-daughter relationship was also present within the show. It’s easy to imagine a mother and daughter duo appearing in formal dinner party thrown by the top one per cent of the society.
But it’s hard to jump in one hundred per cent into this dreamlike virtue. With recent multiple bombings in Surabaya, the show felt a little detach from reality. The soothing chirps of songbirds before the start of the show stood in contrast to the beefed up security in Pacific Place Mall.
Of course, one can also argue that in a disturbing time like this, a dreamy show and aspirational clothes provide escapism from the brutality of the real world. Plus, this particular collection was definitely thought up and worked on months before the bombing incidents.
No matter what your take is, this collection showed that even after more than three decades in the industry, Biyan is still more than capable of commanding attention. During the press conference, the designer briefly joked about his retirement. But judging from this gentle and romantic show, Biyan is clearly optimistic about the future of his label. This spring season will last for many more years to come for him.