Modernity has its blessings and curses. While modern civilization has brought a whole range of new technologies that ease our lives, it has also divorced us from our natural environment.
Cities and their populations grow at appalling rates. Trees and forests are wiped out entirely. In the end, men have become prisoners of their own creations.
Biyan Wanaatmadja, a respected name in the Indonesian fashion industry, feels the same way. His new collection represents his longings for natural beauty.
“In recent years, I’ve become increasingly busy,” Biyan said. “I spent a lot of time indoors and working. It is only when I’m traveling to areas which are free from concrete and buildings that I feel truly relaxed and revived.”
Biyan, who graduated from the Muller & Sohn Privatmodeschule in Dusseldorf, Germany, and the London College of Fashion in England, started his fashion house in Jakarta in 1984. Today, the designer has three fashion labels, which are Biyan, Studio 133 by Biyan and XSML. He also manages several boutiques in Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, the United States and Qatar.
“When I travel, I always make the time and effort to see the natural beauty of the places that I visit,” he said. “And to be able to see them, albeit briefly, is a restorative escape and real luxury for me these days.”
The 58-year-old designer presented his new collection at Hotel Mulia Senayan in Jakarta last week in a fashion show with the theme of “Foliage.”
“For me, foliage is such a beautiful word,” he said. “It represents the natural life and its growth.”
The fashion show itself was a feast for the eyes and the senses. Upon entering the ballroom, the guests were immediately transported to a tropical jungle. The dimly lit ballroom was entirely clad in black and lined with tall trees, palms and ferns. The sounds of rustling leaves and chirping birds complemented the whole illusion.
A rusty old Victorian-styled conservatory, which stood at the center of the stage, was faintly reminiscent of scenes in “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. A light instrumental music played in the background as the models came out from behind the trees.
Biyan’s new collection was a bit different from his previous ones. While it retained his soft style, the new collection also looked more airy and laid-back.
“They’re more roomy, comfortable to wear and easy to mix and match,” the designer said. “It’s what modern women need these days.”
Biyan’s new collection is a clever interplay of colors, shapes and textures.
Boxy blousons were tastefully paired with silk pants tapered above the ankles. Light cotton dresses were adorned with eyelet embroideries in pastel colors to give them a sweet, innocent look. Light beadworking and semi-precious stones were discreetly added to give an elegant sparkle.
In the first session of the show, there was a flowing midi dress made of satin silk, its simple silhouette highlighted with a beautiful leaf-and-fern motif in varying hues of green.
The second session of the fashion show presented suits and dresses with a more tailored, professional look.
“These are the items that you can wear in the office and out of the office,” Biyan said. Some of the outfits presented the strong masculine side of modern women with a chic feminine twist.
Biyan paired a gray viscose gabardine jacket with black palazzo pants. The ornate beadwork on the jacket gave an artistic Oriental look to the modern clothing.
But it was a romantic lace dress that stole the attention of the audience. Dotted with small diamonds and enhanced with superposition tulle embroideries in a leaf-like patterns, the dress will definitely shine at evening parties.
A nostalgic aura reigned in the final session of the show. With the song “Besame Mucho” playing in the background, the models paraded a rich variety of elegant black dresses, embellished with three-dimensional floral appliques, semi-precious stones and Swarovski crystals.
A sleeveless black peplum blouse was paired with a full skirt adorned with Swarovski crystals in clover shapes. Teamed with a chunky gold necklace and pointed-toe platform pumps, the outfit looked sassy and elegant.
“I see a very high, high level of creativity in Indonesia,” said Giuseppe Ravenna, director of Swarovski Elements Southeast Asia, who also attended the fashion show. “They use our crystals in a very discreet, haute-couture way.
“I believe Indonesian fashion has a bright future.”
For more information on Biyan and his collections, visit www.biyan.com or his boutique at:The Papilion, 3rd FloorJalan Kemang Raya no. 45AA, South JakartaTel. 021 719 9007