Didit Meets Parisian Haute
Couture’s Challenge

Chiffon printed outfit with long layered skirt and top.

Candidly, young Indonesian couturier Didit Hedipraysetyo confessed that he was very nervous before his Paris show started.

“Paris represents the pinnacle of fashion, but I really believe in fighting one’s own doubts because that is what life is about!” he told The Jakarta Post.

Born in Jakarta, the 26-year-old graduate of Parsons School in Paris already presented a capsule collection last January in Paris – an exercise in meeting exacting couture standards.

However, his latest collection, showcased last week in an ornate and stately hall of the prestigious Hotel Crillon, which is strategically located on the Right Bank in Paris, displays more maturity with 39 outfits.

Didit explained that he was already attracted to the world of fine art, design and photography early on, ever since he was sent to boarding school in Boston at the age of 13.

His parents – Didit’s mother is Siti Hediati Hariyadi, daughter of former president Soeharto, while his father is businessman-politician Prabowo Subianto, who are separated – did not present any objection to their offspring’s penchant for design and he enjoys their whole-hearted support despite being completely independent in spirit.

“For me, it is clear that we constantly change according to our passions and ultimately I found out that fashion is a way of expressing myself. The personality that really motivated me is the late Diana Vreeland, the very essence of true chic,” Didit said.

After some architectural experience, the young man with large, eloquent black eyes interned at Indonesian Harper’s Bazaar before taking the plunge into fashion.

He completed design courses in New York and Paris, then assisted Finnish fashion designer Jasmine Santanan in the French capital.

Didit’s latest couture show was coordinated by Cynthia Sarkis-Perros and Tuff Production, Indonesian Panca Makim was the choreographer while Amanda Syarfian chose the subtle music palette from Indonesia, Japan and India.

What is unusual is that all outfits are entirely produced by Indonesian craftsmanship despite the use of some foreign fabrics.

Didit’s main inspiration for the collection was a journey to Tokyo. In a release, he described how he discovered the Meiji Shrine where visitors hang wooden tablets on trees inscribed with their cherished wishes.

Cherry trees were probably in bloom as the garments emerge in delicate to stronger shades of pinks, peach and strawberry reds with swirls of spring-green, pale blue or cream. Not a trace of sequins or other embellishments except for the volants, drapes and sashes.

Tall Indonesian model Laurencia Mulyadi, with her dusky skin, made a stunning opening entrance wearing a short, shoulder-free cocktail dress with a draped bodice in a watery beige-pink and light blue-green print.

The lithe models were not cluttered by jewellery except for a single jade bangle worn for good luck.
Hair-dos were kept simple, either a strict top-chignon or just a short bob and pared down makeup.

Didit used songket, an Indonesian brocade shot through with gold or silver thread, in an unusual way, cutting the fabric and draping or twisting it, turning it inside out to reveal irregularities in the hand-made material.

Duchesse satin, chiffon and silk were treated digitally in Java to create interesting marble and watery prints.

Less convincing was a long ensemble in pale herringbone tweed garnered by stiff folds. This made for an awkward bulging silhouette due to the thick fabric, faintly reminiscent of a bygone Comme des Garcons collection – the sole jarring note in an entirely delicate, youthful and organic collection.

Here, shapes did cling to the body, whether held up by spaghetti straps on sheaths, asymmetrical tops with millefeuille draping or long ruffled skirts over casual jersey tank-tops.

Sensual corset-like effects also abounded as waistlines stretched over hips or bodices on longer or shorter robes.

Smart short sleeveless cocktail dresses could also be worn for elegant daywear, besides the skirt-suit in herringbone or the casual short outfits.

Shorts or skirts with large scalloped pockets in pinkish herringbone tweed were paired with slithery silk tops.

More ball gowns featured obi sashes at the back besides draped short shoulderettes, folded capelets, loosely gathered pleats or huge bows. Vivid silk lining occasionally slyly flirted with the onlooker through skirt slits.

Flouncy long chiffon dresses in exquisite shades running from pink to scarlet spiced by discrete contrasting tones were as ravishing as the two airy creations in a brilliant shocking scarlet pink silk.

Raishasyar Fuan, director of marketing and clientele relationship, disclosed at the end of the show that Didit established a small studio showroom at 17 Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore
in late 2009.

In Jakarta, Didit Hediprasetyo Couture is based in Menteng, Central Jakarta.

“Besides Indonesia, his clients come from Singapore, Japan and Lebanon.”
— Photo Courtesy of Patrick Stable

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