Say “hi” to Josie, fashion barbie. She is a Philippine designer with an impeccable taste in Asian fashion. As a Chinese decent, bred and raised in Indonesia, I know how beautiful Asian heritage can be on the body. My love story with the wearable art in Indonesia began with a sight of hand-drawn cloths, Batik, and multi dimensional embroidery fabrics, Songket, in a traditional market near my residency complex. From then onward, my curiosity about the local fashion rocketed and brought me to a wide array of style exposure of Indonesia’s diverse cultures. Lining up after batik and songket was the shimmering threads and exquisite crystals on a Chinese traditional dress, Qipao, that I saw hanging on my mother’s walk-in-closet. It was vivid in my mind a few reasons why Qipao was one of her favorites after Prada. The pencil end of the dress, which lands right above the knee, gives a nice finish to the crowded, crystal-decorated top. The band collar covers any flaws you want to hide on your neck, such as, veiny neck. These are the traditional characters of a Qipao, which for so long, I thought, could not change, until Josie opened the curtain on her Autumn/Winter 2017 to a handful fashion people to witness the magic. Qipao that comes in satin without excessive use of crystals. Need I say more? Yas, they are off-the-shoulder.
The off-the-shoulder part can easily become a blazer when you undo the back.
I still do have more in store. The modification of traditional set-up in Chinese Qipao did not stop on the off-the-shoulder, Josie also designed one that looked like a kimono with a broad v-neck finish and without the band on the neck. The broad v-neck is oversized to our shoulders, which, of course, makes it almost fall off from them and realizes the phrase almost-off-the-shoulder. In place of the band, she placed a fur collar that came on its own. Creative? Yas, but the highlight of it all was the dragon embroidery. The material itself is made up of satin, so I think the look is intentionally set to be shiny. This shiny look meet the uneven surface of the dragon embroidery, which allows the light to play well.
The series of Josie’s embroidery continues in forms other than Qipao.
After Qipao, my interest in Indonesia’s cultural fashion further extended to a territory not within my culture. Kaftan, an Islamic wear which always becomes two times more seeable in the social scene during Eid Mubarak season, is my next favorite. With the soon-coming of Eid Mubarak, I think this is a perfect timing to bring up the kaftan collection of Josie. Look below to see how gorgeous they are. I think the photographs will speak for themselves.
All these kaftans have a Chinese stroke, whether it is the mandarin collar or the dragon motifs.