What makes a good designer? Is it by clocking in 10,000 hours of practice as suggested by Malcolm Gladwell? Or is it the ability to extract terrific ideas from one’s endless creative well?
It doesn’t matter whether the anticipation before the LASALLE College Jakarta show, which featured collections from its graduating students and alumni, was high or not. What matter is that the audience will get the chance to witness the birth of new talents in this ultra-competitive industry that seeks to renew itself once every six months.
There were attempts to show innovative ideas in the capsule collections by two of LASALLE graduating students, Jennyfer Owen and Anansa Taira. However, the collections lacked finesse and wearability, a common problem in many fashion students.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safer to deposit all your eggs in the wearability basket. As demonstrated in the collections of new brands started by the college’s alumni, show too much wearability and you’ll get plebeian pieces.
In Ligne, geometric colour-blocking dresses that came in nude and pastel blues are highly wearable. Likewise, the energy from Fitlosophy, an active-wear label, was persuasive. Models walked out, easy breezy, in sports-bra top, jogging short shorts and mesh jackets. Wearability is not a dirty word here but these brands lacked solid identity to differentiate themselves from the rest.
Leave it to Oscar Lawalata to show you how it should be done. In the show prelude, Oscar sent out a group of models, all dressed in various batik outfits, as if instructing us to take a last good look at them because that will be the first and last time you’ll get to spot batik in this collection.
Next, out came a collection that married elegance and artistry superbly. Models strode out with glowing skin and wet slicked-back hair as if they have just emerged from a bath. Here, their outfits were cleansed from the expected batik prints, a habitual expectation from an Indonesian designer.
The collection was bubbling with irresistible seduction. Pieces like scarf top, sarong skirt and silky dress hugged the body loosely, ready to give in and slip off anytime to an accidental tug. The details on the clothes did not shout to be seen, rather they summon you to look closer, such as a coat that featured delicate “moth-eaten” holes. The show was enthralling because you were convinced that the ladies exist beyond the runway. If Paul Gauguin were to be alive today, these women would no doubt end up on his canvas.
With that, Oscar gave an invaluable lesson for those, especially fashion college graduates or new start-up labels, who are looking to make a name for themselves in this industry. It doesn’t matter how dazzling your idea is or how much experience you have under your belt. You won’t get to go far without good taste.