Footnotes from the Front Row: JFW 2016, Day 7

Are we really here already, at the closing of Jakarta Fashion Week 2016? I swear it’s just started, like, yesterday.

As happens every year to journalists and fashion folks devoting themselves for the entire week, on the last leg of a fashion week we’d be almost literally on our last legs, too. Some of us would forego heeled shoes; most of us would been in the various states of migraine and flu. Yet all of us would soldier on for the finale of the fashion week.

And this year’s last few shows made a proverbial good finale, indeed.

I wrote earlier how designers from Japan Fashion Week who’d graced our runways, such as Suzuki Takayuki who was showing earlier in the week, always pleased me in the consistency of their concept and the finesse of their executions—qualities I don’t always find in our RTW designers, even the ones with a sizable client base and considerable media praise. On the closing day I’m pleased to watch another exemplary qualities and creativity were unfurled by Korean label Soulpot Studio.

Soulpot Studio didn’t bring forth the edgiest silhouettes or the wackiest prints, but they labored on fabrics– on fibers– that they showcased in simple, clean-cut, very-well-tailored pieces on the runway. There was no wrinkle, no pulled thread, no shoddy hemline stitching—the pieces had gone through various sampling stages before going into the real production, in no way a result of a rushed job. Well done, Soulpot, and thank you for the much-needed lesson.

I certainly hope that lesson would also travel to the minds of new designers making it to the final round of Lomba Perancang Mode (LPM) this year, the very design competition that has long predated Jakarta Fashion Week and touted as the seed maker. This year’s finalists, mostly upstart designers, did offer promises. And while the jurors quite understandably decided on a safe choice of Ansy Savitri, whose designs were highly wearable, I found Manda Talitha’s deliberate pop-art, almost anime-like designs to be the breath of fresh air. Having been inducted into the Fashion Council this year, which primary task is to select successful former finalists for a homecoming JFW show, I’m hoping to see Manda Talitha to keep flourishing onwards that she’d be invited to return in the future.

But for now, we’ve got this JFW to close.

Having gone through an organizational restructuring in the past year, I was particularly curious to see what Dewi magazine, the force behind JFW’s Finale show, Dewi Fashion Knights (DFK), would bring differently in front of the crème de la crème of Indonesian fashion scene descending into the blacked-out Fashion Tent.

From the pre-announced selections of designers I already noted a shift in direction. The induction of Lulu Lutfi Labibi, a Yogya-based designer who regardless of his recent rise to social-media-driven popularity had never shown in the Jakarta Fashion Week, and accessories designer Rinaldi A Yunardi, the first ever accessories designer to have been invited on DFK.

And the bets were paid off. In addition to visually feasted on Peggy’s elegant dresses and F Budi’s almost ethereal twist on sumptuous fabrics, we had to sit back to take in the tantalizing traditional textiles—twisted, draped and knotted into au currant shapes– that Lulu paraded down the runway. That his formal education came from a prestigious art school mastering in textile really came into light that night, and the audience was besotted. Only a handful of us, myself included, who were wearing his designs for DFK—but by next week I believe Lulu’s atelier would be backlogged.

Last but not least, the finale of the Finale… was worth the wait. Rinaldi’s bold and bodacious accessories, from sky-high headgears to imposing arm pieces and face-framing visors, were so bad ass that I actually think, if we sent a good battalion of them, ISIS might just be scared. Forget fashion industry! Someone in the toy industry should be buying Rinaldi’s designs and turn them into figurines that I’d bet my MBA degree would be selling like hot cakes.

And with that, I bid adieu for now. I will discuss different aspects of JFW 2016 in my biweekly UrbanChat column on the Jakarta Post and monthly column on Grazia later, so do check those as well. In the meantime, scroll down @lyndaibrahim (Twitter) or @lyndaibr (IG) for the past week for snapshots, videos, or impromptu commentaries.

We survived the fashion week, chikadee! Yay!

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