The Jakarta Post
Cristina Panarese and Sebastian Gunawan (Tim Muara Bagdja/File)
Sebastian Gunawan, or Seba as he is known by friends and the media alike, began his journey in fashion at an early age. Born in Jakarta, the designer credits his mother’s style as sparking an interest that would later be honed in Los Angeles in the United States and Milan in Italy.
In 1992, the Sebastian Gunawan label was born, and the rest is history.
As part of the celebrations of his 25 years in the industry, Sebastian along with his wife and partner-in-creativity Cristina Panarese launched a book titled Whisper/ROAR.
The title of the book calls to mind Sebastian’s collection from his eponymous label, showcased earlier in October 2017 to mark the label’s silver anniversary. The namesake collection itself is a compilation of Sebastian’s hits, ranging from bold black and reds to delicate lace and floral themes in dramatic silhouettes.
“The book launch is the climax of a series of celebrations for the anniversary of the Sebastian Gunawan label after the Whisper/ROAR collection unveiling and an exhibition of our past work,” Sebastian said.
The 250-page book features a decade’s worth of Sebastian’s collections spanning from 2007 to 2017, shot by photographers Peter Tjahyadi, Anton Johnsen and Moko Wong.
Each chapter of the considerably large book is filled with photographs capturing minute details of Sebastian’s pieces, a fitting tribute for the designer who is known for his attention to detail and feminine look.
While the Whisper/ROAR book is surely a must-have for fashion aficionados and young designers, those not sartorially inclined could at least peruse it as a conversation starter.
The book itself is not available for purchase at regular bookstores, so those looking for a piece of Indonesian fashion history will have to order it directly from Sebastian’s team.
Glamourous look: A page of the Whisper/ROAR displays an array of evening dresses. (Tim Muara Bagdja/File)
The limited-edition book, which took one and a half years to make, was made from paper directly imported from the US, the designer said.
“I originally wanted to launch the book along with the fashion show, but the production took too long so we had to delay it.”
He jokingly referred to an analogy of picking a favorite child to describe the curating process, as he considered it one of the hardest decisions he had to make.
“The most time-consuming part was the curating process, as it was hard to pick which pieces would make the book due to the sheer quantity,” he said.
For Sebastian and Cristina, the book launch was not only a milestone reached in a career spanning a quarter of a century, but also a gift for loyal clients and aspiring designers alike.
“We wanted to leave a note that could inspire others. Like a notebook, it is small but it is filled with many things,” Cristina said.
“In other countries, I think it is a common practice for designers to create a book for documentation purposes. I hope that young Indonesian designers will be motivated to create an archive of their works as a reference for the next generation of designers,” Sebastian said.
The husband and wife team have embraced the ups and downs of their career in the fashion industry, leaving no regrets.
“It takes a long process and an arduous struggle to stay on the path we have chosen and loved, but the sacrifices we make will be worth it in the end,” Sebastian said. (jlm)