If there’s a designer influential enough to get you out of the couch on a lazy Saturday night, then it’s got to be Oscar Lawalata. Last Saturday, Oscar launched his new contemporary ready-to-wear line, O that aims at younger clienteles within the creative industry. Think architects, designers, musicians and the likes. Over at his spacious studio slash showroom in Dharmawangsa, the launch was presented through a format that combined both exhibition and runway show. Still, it’s not as if one needs much persuasion when it comes to Oscar. Even after being in the business for years, the designer clearly still has matters he personally would like to address.
For the debut, Oscar turned to the basic black t-shirt as the jumping point. Although the entire collection was awash with a sea of black, Oscar expanded on the idea of a t-shirt. Indeed, the focus was mostly on the top part of the body – it was a shirt show – and not much was going at the bottom. Still, the boundary between formal and informal was blurred. To wit, a crew neck top with embroidered circles artfully placed across the body is capable to carry you from day to night. T-shirt for a formal event? Why not?
But the most striking part was the rudimentary techniques that Oscar employed for this collection. The childlike quality of creating swirling patterns across the body using simple running stitches was a casual way of conveying the birth and the first baby step of the label. It certainly fits in the narrative for the debut of O.
During the show, once the models have made their turn at the end of the runway, they were faced with their own reflections from a huge mirror across the room. Intentional or not, it felt like a commentary on the current selfie-obsessed generation. Perhaps, the point here is self-awareness instead. It’s a pleasure to watch the models reorienting themselves slightly when faced with their mirror image. Plus, the designer also used simple geometric shapes to form faces inspired by primitive statues, adding another layer of context to the collection.
Even though O is targeted towards young adults, Oscar managed to avoid the usual trappings of youth. This is clearly his vision for the tribe of younger generation that wears O – a sense of grace and dignity prevails here. For example, the impression of ripples spreading across the body using slash and stitch technique reminded you of raked gravels found in Japanese rock gardens.
Unfortunately, the harsh lighting of the show proved to be a discomfort for the guests who sat directly across, as they blocked the glare with their hand just to get a decent view of the clothes. Luckily, the exhibition afterwards allowed guests to examine and digest the pieces in full details, calling attention to the tactile quality of the collection.
To be sure, even though O is created with the younger generation in mind, the price is definitely steep. A simple t-shirt will set you back at least 1.8 million rupiah. Putting that aside, O is clearly Oscar’s attempt at bringing back dignity and a more contemplative approach to the current state of ready-to-wear, which has gotten more and more commercial as of lately. It might be too early to tell if the guests share Oscar’s sentiment. But for now, it was definitely a solid debut for O.