Second day of Plaza Indonesia Men’s Fashion Week shed an illuminating view of Jakarta’s menswear scene between the established and the new brands. In short, it was an involuntary showdown between the old guards and the young talents.
Phillip Iswardono is not afraid to declare his love for Lurik – a traditional fabric with tiny stripes motif that is popular among the commoners in Java – in his collection. The only difference is that Phillip Iswardono’s Lurik will blow a hole in your wallet. Those Lurik came in variety of looks that were applied on long sleeve shirts, pants and even cropped top.
There were some challenging colours, such as lime green and burnt orange but overall, the pieces were easy to love. Still, Phillip’s idea of marrying the high and the low was better articulated through simpler looks like his clean indigo crew neck Lurik top with kimono sleeves complete with a huge square pocket at the front.
The similar vein of repurposing old traditions and incorporating them into men’s modern life was also present in Iwan Tirta Private Collection. The delicate hand-painted batik was noticeably cleaner and more simplified. Nature was a strong recurring theme – exotic flora and fauna of Indonesia appeared on most of the shirts. There were plenty of colours but it was subdued and by no means less dignified. The royal treatment was clearly present on some of the closing looks where the batik painted in gold shimmered delicately under the runway lights.
Phillip Iswardono and Iwan Tirta’s collections successfully delivered a refreshing and calculated updates while managed to appeal to the young, modern professionals without turning off their loyal and more conservative customers.
Drama ensued right before the start of Patrick Owen and ISIS collections. The room simply could not contain the amount of guests that were pouring in to show their love. After all seats were taken, some of the unfortunate ones were forced to plaster themselves onto the wall like unwilling wallpaper. Then it was followed by complains from displeased runway photographers who remarked that they wouldn’t be able to take a decent shot of the collections with those guests lined up against the wall. (One photographer eventually left before the show started).
The question is, were the two collections really worth all that commotions?
Patrick Owen’s collection, entitled “God is Great”, featured streetwear-inspired looks that mostly came in trippy print of lush landscape imagery. Religion was clearly on Patrick’s mind as demonstrated through knee-grazing layers and boxy silhouette that resembled a priest’s uniform. The holographic appliqués on a simple black sleeveless top induced a hypnotising effect as the model passed by. But there is this naggy feeling that you have seen all this before. The debt to Givenchy was obviously clear in this collection.
The collection title of ISIS, “Absence of Colour”, is certainly not an invitation for you to take the term literally. The collection did include colours that came through the form of camouflage prints. It was a straightforward and commercially viable collection. But how do you account for the fashion part? Designers Andrea Risjad and Amot Syamsuri Muda chose to solve that problem by injecting personality into the collection with a mixed cast of models and friends. Halfway through the show, a singer walked down the runway while belting out soulful rendition of James Brown’s ‘It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World’ followed by more of the designers’ gang of eccentric friends.
But if there were any consolation to gain from this, is that the guests came expecting a show. And they got it.