Wilsen Willim Goes Romantic

by Julius Kensan
27th November 2019
The romantic undercurrent in Wilsen Willim’s show was affecting but his womenswear could use a tighter edit as he did for the men.

Last Friday morning, a tight group of press and guests battled the humidity and the possibility of a heavy downpour for the runway show of Wilsen Willim’s Spring Summer 2020 collection. When it was announced that the designer will be presenting his show in Taman Krida Loka within the compound of Stadium Gelora Bung Karno, the decision somehow felt like a response to a trend. After all, since last year, the venue has been a hot choice for a handful of events, including fashion runway shows. But once the first model walked down the runway, or rather the gravel path, it began to make more sense.

The white sleeveless slip dress that billows from the waist down and paired with black boots carried a nod to equestrian clothing. Luckily, there’s no obvious reference on display here, like English riding boots and dressage helmet. Rather, Wilsen is more fixated on injecting a romantic undercurrent to semi-formal wear that works for both day and night for highly mobile young adults, who love to mix work with play.

While the label has always been focusing on tailoring, this collection also marked a softer and more playful approach from Wilsen. The key focus here is on the jacket, which Wilsen showed a lot of. In particular, a fitted one-sleeve black jacket worn over a high-neck lilac dress was memorable and also gave toughness to the romantic touch. But for most of them, the jackets were belted to give the impression of an hourglass figure.

If the intention was to display a silhouette that’s nipped at the waist, then Wilsen should have worked on it through design and tailoring like the strapless bustier jacket, instead of relying on styling through the use of the belt. Plus, the collection will also benefit from a stiffer choice of fabric for the tailored pieces to emphasise the contrast with flowy dresses and skirts.

What’s interesting is that the men’s offerings were more successful compared to the women’s. They were bolder and more sensual like the white long sleeve top in lace, which is backless and held together with a bow. When viewed as a whole, the show displayed composed energy, but the menswear carried a stronger presence mainly as a consequence of the more tightly edited looks. If Wilsen were to apply the same constraint for the women, the result would have packed a stronger punch.

Even so, the sky remained clear throughout and the designer steered clear of theatrics. The attendees were tightly selected, the atmosphere was intimate and Wilsen went straight down to business without wasting any more precious time on a Friday morning. For an industry that’s obsessed with prestige and self-importance, that’s certainly a rare thing to find.