26 January 2017

Fashion show in Paris is not only held in a large building complete with a runway and little chairs for the guests. Some designers choose to hold a presentation rather than a show. The plus, the invited guests will have more freedom and more time observing the work of the designer. Stephane Rolland is consistently being one who chooses to hold a presentation with more intimate atmosphere that is.

Inspired by many of these artists from various eras, ranging from Michelangelo, Rodin, until Brancusi, Stephane Rolland created evening gowns with undulating, luxurious silhouettes. Mr. Rolland told me that he greatly admires works of art, and had long wanted to show his work in an art gallery. Dresses he created for this season did look  like sculptures in an exhibition. No wonder when the Romanian sculptor, Constantin Brâncuşi, greatly influenced his works, such as a Coupole skirt inspired by the sculpture Pasarea în văzduh (Bird in Space), the controversial Brancusi work which was sold for $US 27.5 million in 2005.

A white dress made of wool crêpe resembled the renown Carrara marble has a construction like an eclipse. Some looks were deliberately asymmetrical, and dresses made of silk faille and Gazar, blush tulle on the shoulders of a white suit, a dress strictly made of woven leather decorated with crystals on each cross-bred, as well as a long dress in black with a hood welcome the guests with striking effect like a living sculpture upon entering the gallery. In the middle, a red dress with a monumental Voctorian S silhouette. It ws nothing but a grand middlepunkt for this collection.

The dresses are indeed more grand ball/awards appropriate than a dinner party, but few things are sure. People will pay attention - and step aside to give a way.

Update: Read the review on CNN Indonesia.

8 July 2016

A groundbreaking second collection of Guo Pei Couture has just illuminated the city of light.

After a long journey to penetrate the calendar of Paris Couture Week for the first time last January, Guo Pei is now back with a more elaborate, more charming collection with a greater wow effect. The show was held in Bourse de commerce, an Impressionist-styled building that serves as the bureau of commodity exchanges in Paris, clearly with a high historical value.

Inspired from the culture and a long history of rich Chinese civilization, Guo Pei became a fashion antithesis of the 21st century, where modernity and mobility became the basis and seems contagious among new fashion players. Nothing is simple in the world of Guo Pei, even for a Little Black Dress. During my visit to showrrom in the next day, the husband Jack explained that many of the materials used in this collection were produced up to two years before the show, which involved, among others, infamous textile manufacturer Jakob Schlaepfer.

This collection is a kaleidoscope filled with colorful fabrics and garments with an imaginative design that many of them are museum worthy.

Titled 'Encounter', Guo Pei presented a marriage between the western and eastern, without looking bland nor boring. Pieces of the European feminism peppered with many Chinese decorations that were condensed,  like a Court Dress of the 18th century. Opened with a white dress with  details of scalp-formed mother-of-pearl and dragon-pattered emboridery (one of the Twelve Symbols belonging to the Emperor Yongzheng) and a sleeveless dress, Guo Pei enhanced the aesthetic of art deco in the 20s like the Princess of Great Gatsby with a touch of orientalism. Tufted red dress of cellophane was decorated with precious stones and luxurious fur. Last Exit, a pointed-shoulder gown resembling the one which once belonged to Empress Xiaoxian, was a grande of a finale.

Guo Pei had to train artisans to produce her design, keeping alive the ancient technique and craftsmanship as well as embroidery pattern which had become a lost art during the Cultural Revolution. She hoped she could make Chinese people proud of their heritage and to inspire a greater appreciation for traditional crafts so that they will be preserved. With so many atendees dressed in her clothes, including a young girl wearing a white dress with a blue patterned embroidery like a fragile Chinese porcelain, Guo Pei became the ultimate couture guardian from the far east. And with the opening of her first atelier in Paris, she is ready to establish herself as the one to pay attention to, making pavement to become one of grand couturiers of the future.

UPDATE: To read my piece on my visit to her atelier, go to CNN Indonesia.

26 January 2016

Yiqing Yin was blooming.

Photo Courtesy Yiqing Yin

This was Yiqing Yin's first haute couture collection after she had been granted the appelation of haute couture by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, a French minister body that has right to award the title of haute couture (next thing you should take notice: that title is not to easily and loosely use). Collaborating with textile designer Coen Carstens and harness creator Lolo Chatenay, Yiqing Yin catered both the experimental part of haute couture and wearability. At least one-third of this collection, with its lightness and complexity in contruction: crosspiece of leathers, bondage of lanyard and silk strings left dangling, was a proposal of new ideas. Her fond on fur was also apparent: a fox fur jacket with sleeves made out of laser-cut scale-formed leather, or off-shoulder dress with fur worked inticately it looked like a flufy caterpillars.

The stupefaction was the finale, indeed, as beforehand she did what she does best: long silk drapped dresses. Created from a collaboration with light sculptor Bastien Carré, this black dress interwined with piano wire and tiny LED bulbs attached garnered both a round of applause and a boo (by attendees and photographers, respectively, for different reasons). Couture can be, again, different depending on your point of view, and a good designer knows how to play with it.

For complete runway images and my review in Bahasa Indonesia, go to

Signorfandi, like a phoenix!