Monday, February 8, 2016

Unearthing 'Treasure from the East'

Models showcase the latest creations by renowned designer Sebastian Gunawan in Jakarta to welcome the Chinese New Year. (Dimar Budi Adiprasetya, The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network)

Themed "Treasure from the East," designer Sebastian Gunawan, better known as Seba, presented 63 outfits to serve as an inspiration for the Chinese New Year.

While the festivity is associated with red and gold symbolizing luck and wealth, Seba chose to showcase other elements and colors that could also represent Chinese culture.

"I was inspired by five elements — lacquer, jade, coral, the culture and porcelain. Chinese people typically want to wear anything red (during the Chinese New Year celebration), while jade, a precious gemstone in the culture, is green," Seba said.

He was also inspired by lacquer with coral inlay, producing glamorous creations in black and gold. Meanwhile, signature blue and white porcelain from the Ming Dynasty and the flowery green and red of Nyonya Ware porcelain are also prominent in the collection.

The show opened with a parade of models walking a long runway consisting of several corridors formed by back-to-back chairs, presenting cocktail dresses, jumpsuits, evening gowns and wedding dresses rich in silhouettes.

For the collection, Seba worked with materials including velvet, satin, lace, brocade, tulle and damask, elevating the textures with details like embroidery and sequins.

A number of dresses inspired by New Look silhouettes from the 1950s looked fabulous with high necklines, tight bodices and wide skirts of varying lengths. Among them was a green jade cocktail dress with pleated full skirt, lace cap sleeves, a high neckline and a belt accent.

While the velvet green dress emphasized a glamorous and elegant look, others were more playful, as shown in a porcelain-print high-low strapless dress with a loose bodice.

Seba's signature feminine look was most notable in the evening dresses. Many of the floor-length dresses were beautifully crafted, decorated with sparkling details and using patterns designed to adorn a female hourglass form. He also played with various backless and semi-backless designs, producing an unfailingly sexy allure.

"The feminine impression can be translated in many forms. I want to explain that women can have a little flirty effect without being vulgar," he said.

A long dress collection inspired by Nyonya Ware porcelain was replete with beautiful green and red floral embroideries and boasted an illusion bodice that flattered the transparent curves.

Seba said some of the see-through accents in his designs were influenced by ancient Chinese underwear dudou, similar to toddlers' clothes.

Chinese fashion styles like dudou and cheongsam have seen continual evolution. Seba said cheongsam had many slits in the1930s and 1940s, when war meant people had to be economical, giving a totally different look from the wide, over-layered arms and hemline styles of ancient royal fashion.

"Like kebaya, Chinese dresses have seen changes from one generation to another. Today, there are no certain rules. Everything is more fluid," he said.

All the models wore the same make up and hairdo, inspired by the regal headwear of ancient kingdoms. The fashion show closed with three wedding dresses, including a stunning tight-fitting mermaid dress with cheongsam's iconic high neckline and cap sleeves.

Source: Unearthing 'Treasure from the East' by Indah Setiawati, The Jakarta Post/Asia News

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