Jakarta Fashion Week 2019: byvelvet, IKYK and Peggy Hartanto

by Julius Kensan
23rd October 2018
Designing for the body and the mind. byvelvet and IKYK stumbled, while Peggy Hartanto excelled.

When it comes to fashion, figuring out women’s needs sounds a lot easier on presentation slides and conversation as compared to the actual designing part. What does she do? Where is she going? What is her hobby? And of course, what does she want? Apart from dressing the body, the designer also needs to understand the importance of dressing the mind.

The latter is lacking in byvelvet’s collection. It wasn’t until a few looks in, when a model walked out in a black high-collar top with a combo of caramel brown double-breasted jacket, pants and coat that the collection felt like it’s heading somewhere.

Creators of byvelvet, Randy W. Sastra and Yessi Kusumo are no doubt delivering wearable clothes that women can move freely in, fit for both work and formal occasions. But beyond wearable pieces, what else? Does she need a mannish shirt to be taken seriously? Is a pair of palazzo pants the only way to avoid the male gaze?

Even though the idea of the collection that aims to be practical and modest are a good starting point, the result is muddled. It appears as if Randy and Yessi were just ticking the boxes for a wardrobe and sometimes forgot about the actual utility part. One of the looks featuring loose blouse and peplum skirt worn over a pair of pants is confusing. How practical can they be when the woman heads for the restroom?

But above all, the whole collection comes across as a tribute to Phoebe Philo’s Céline, instead of establishing byvelvet’s own voice and vision.

The same can be said for designer Anandia Marina Putri Harahap of IKYK. The collection carries a whiff of Philo’s influence, except it was remodeled into modest wear sensibilities.

To be clear, there were some solid pieces, bolstered by materials like nylon and parachute. In particular, the salmon pink coat has an instant appeal because it reminds you of a shower curtain. As if the woman just pulled it off after the shower, wrapped it around her, and voila, there she goes.

Even so, the entire collection is underwhelming. IKYK has been around for years, and the label was even featured by i-D magazine for making modest wear fashionable. But that also begs the next question. Take modest wear out of the equation and what does IKYK really stand for as a label?

With Peggy Hartanto’s latest collection, it seems like the designer is beginning to take it easy, especially after representing Indonesia as the finalist at International Woolmark Prize Asia and tying the knot last year. But that doesn’t mean she has lost the ability to surprise. The devil is in the detail in this one.

Those who initially fell in love with the label for its feminine pieces that boast sensual cutouts may find that Peggy is increasingly covering her women up. That’s not to say the sex appeal is lacking in this collection. Instead, Peggy has started to contemplate on how to heighten the wearers’ confidence by showing just enough. For example, a one-shoulder jumpsuit with scalloped bust draws the attention to the shoulder while simultaneously covers the abdomen with peplum.

Peggy also sent out all the models in flats, which was obviously more than just a declaration of comfort. Can a pregnant woman in her first and/or second trimester feel attractive in her own right? Judging from this collection, a definite yes. The designer is tapping into the common insecurity that most women go through during pregnancy and empowering them with clothes that offer both femininity and security.

Could it be that Peggy herself is expecting a baby? Maybe. Regardless, it’s a clear example of what a designer can achieve when they design for both the body and the mind.