Sunday, January 31, 2016

Galeries Lafayette's Fashiontastic Chinese New Year


Until the beginning of the 21st century, observations of the lunar new year in Jakarta were mostly confined to feasts in Chinese households and occasional paper dragons hanging around Chinatown. Fast forward to 2016 and it's a national holiday that calls for fashionable celebrations.
The number and scale of Chinese New Year promotions and celebrations taking place continue to grow exponentially. The excitement has been a major push for the global fashion industry, but strictly from a style point of view, there have only been a few brands whose Chinese New Year-themed collections are worth checking out.

Coming up with a fresh take on a major cultural theme is no easy task. Trust Galeries Lafayette, a legendary department store headquartered in Paris–and with a local outpost in Jakarta–for a tasteful and respectful take on the holiday.

Until the end of February, splashes of red and dashes of blue will dominate its spacious, four-story outlet at the Pacific Place shopping center as part of its Fashiontastic Chinese New Year celebration.

The striking color combination pays homage to chinoiserie style. Just in case you didn’t know, this is the red fire monkey year for the Chinese calendar, and blue is believed to be a most auspicious color.

“Chinoiserie is the European interpretation of Chinese and East Asian artistic traditions,” Melissa Ann Tjahyadikarta, the head of marketing for Galeries Lafayette Jakarta, says.

As an important fashion institution, Galeries Lafayette Jakarta makes it a point to adopt a multi-pronged strategy that ensures the collections represented are both on point and respectful.

To that end, Melissa says that her team has partnered with the best homegrown designers–Sebastian Gunawan and Ghea Paggabean, among others–to offer her well-informed clients clothes that are indicative of Chinese cultural elements.

Sebastian and Ghea presented their holiday creations at an exclusive trunk show on Galeries Lafayette Jakarta on Jan. 21 to launch the department store’s month-long Fashiontastic Chinese New Year celebration.

Fashion lovers worth their salt knows that nobody makes prettier gowns than Sebastian, who has worked for the late fashion and interior designer Egon von Fürstenberg, perhaps best known as the former husband of designer Diane von Fürstenberg.

In conjunction with this year’s holiday, the youthful 49-year-old offered his trunk collection titled La Gytana: A Fusion of Eurasian Style, exclusively sold at Galeries Lafayette Jakarta. The collection was released under his second line, Votum, which offers affordable, ready-to-wear pieces.

The show featured his interpretation of chinoiserie–modified cheongsam dresses in yellow, red, magenta and Oriental floral prints and cut slightly above the knee.

But just when colors and cuts might become repetitive, a white sleeveless number with an exaggerated peplum reminds us why Seba, as he is fondly called, is a designer who best understands sex appeal and romance.

It is also worth mentioning that despite the expected Seba cut, the fine lace and flower embroideries–using Swarovski crystals, no less–make each of these dresses a truly special creation.

Next up was veteran designer Ghea Panggabean, who made her name for herself over three decades ago for her creative use of tie-dyed fabrics locally known as kain jumputan, offering a wider range of looks in her Chinese New Year collection.

The Chelsea Academy of Fashion graduate drew inspiration from the regal wardrobe worn by China's imperial rulers, hence the name of the collection: The Legend of the Ancient Chinese Emperors.

Staying true to her signature loose silhouettes and roomy cuts, Ghea offered pants, blouses, skirts, gowns and even capes.

Ghea was fearless when it came to colors –using fuchsia, red, gold, orange–even breaking Chinese taboo by sending a number of black pieces down the runway.

Almost every look was made rich by exquisite dragon and phoenix embroideries, which together represent good fortune, happiness and balance.

One piece of Ghea's that embodied the opulence of China's imperial past was a wide-legged pants-and-camisole combo, worn over a sheer top with mandarin collar and gold embroideries - a clever take on Emperor Qian's long robe.

Shopping Extravaganza

“We’re thrilled to welcome people to Galeries Lafayette for the fashion show–and for the month-long ‘Fashiontastic’ celebration,” marketing chief Melissa says. “There’s something for everyone, from a specially curated pop-up market with exclusive designs to a selection of exquisite hampers and other gifts for the holidays.”

The trunk show launched a pop-up market of carefully curated designers for the celebration. Apart from Seba’s Votum and Ghea Panggabean, other brands that have created a limited-edition Chinese New Year collection for Galeries Lafayette Jakarta include Studio 133 Biyan, JII By Gloria Agatha, Mel Ahyar, Sean and Sheila, Todjo by Sapto Djojokartiko, VONE, Yosafat Dwi Kurniawan and SISSAE.

Clothes aren’t the only New Year-themed items on offer for the holiday.

Those who spend more than Rp 3 million on these are titled will receive delightful red ang pao envelopes from Galeries Lafayette. What’s inside? A voucher worth Rp 200,000, which you can use to buy more Chinese New Year collections. There’s also Galeries Lafayette’s own exclusively designed golden ang pao.

On the ground floor, there’s a section presenting a range of curated gifts, including locally made Year of the Monkey inspired handicrafts from Alun Alun.

Don’t forget to drop by the Lunar Gourmet section too, where you can find a special hampers from Tea et Al starting at Rp 652,000, exquisitely packaged linen, room sprays and other aromatics from Elantier and a selection of delicious cakes by Nata.

Galeries Lafayette

Pacific Place
Telp. (021) 57973471

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