Makassar’s classy woven fabric
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Renowned fashion designer Didiet Maulana has taken Indonesia’s precious woven fabrics to new heights and transformed them into elegant designs for his latest collection.
Traveling all the way from the beautiful island of Celebes, or Sulawesi, Indonesia’s very own Didiet Maulana has taken valuable woven fabrics from Makassar of South Sulawesi to Jakarta to be uniquely blended with international garment silhouettes for his new collection, Eksotika Mamiri.
The young designer has been actively promoting Indonesia by establishing his line, Ikat Indonesia by Didiet Maulana, by using the country’s exotic fabric ikat. Ikat is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employs a resistant dying process, similar to tie dye, on either the warp or weft fibers.
His new 36-piece collection was shown at the recent Plaza Indonesia Fashion Week. “What I want to express through this collection is that Indonesian women in ikat have powerful yet feminine personas. I want to show that there are a lot of smart women in Indonesia,” he said.
The inspiration for Didiet’s latest collection came from the 1970s. “I used the overdress caftan, which is very bohemian and I also used turbans worn with the hair down. I’d like to make this style a trend,” he said.
Didiet opened the show with a casual look — a loose long sleeved blouse finished with a green ikat accent on the button line, paired with a green ikat knee length skirt and topped off with a stylized turban — which is suitable for daytime meetings or evening cocktails.
He was drawn to the geometrical designs found on ikat woven fabric. He had explored using woven fabrics from Bali and Jepara in Central Java but felt it was time to bring fabrics from eastern Indonesia into the spotlight.
“The Makassar’s geometrical shapes on the ikat’s design remind me of architecture, which is actually my educational background. Personally, I find the aesthetic of geometric shapes very appealing,” Didiet said.
“During a visit to Sengkang in Makassar, I saw the ikat style and it rekindled my love for architecture and I felt really excited.”
Next to appear on the catwalk was much more glamorous. Didiet chose robes as outerwear and combined them with various silhouettes such as jumpsuits, one-shoulder items and tube dresses. His silky, orange, oversized robe coupled with a shiny, purple, jumpsuit was finished with a wound up turban to make a bold and beautiful statement.
“The thing is I cannot make a collection exclusively for one particular month. I want people to wear it all the time. So, if you don’t need the robe, you can take it off,” said Didiet.
From soft, calm, colors such as mocha to a shocking red paired with a peach robe, Didiet’s long dresses offered a modern edge delivered with an elegant touch and unique attention to detail, such as the gathering in at the ankles.
“The shape of these dresses is inspired by outfits my grandmother wore. I remember being mesmerized by her going about her daily activities in traditional sarong fabric that was cut tight at the ankles.”
“I thought the elegance of a woman was seen in how she walked in those small steps. That’s the beauty I wanted to show within those particular dress pieces,” he says.
Didiet focused on a purple and red wine color palette for his pre fall/winter collection.
“My upcoming fall/winter collection will also be using those colors, so I think I may need to make some adjustment prior to that collection.”
He also used embroidery from other parts of the country, such as Tasikmalaya in West Java, in the Eksotika Mamiri collection.
“It’s basically a mix of Makassar’s ikat meets Tasikmalaya’s embroidery and some tassel embroidery from Bukittinggi, West Sumatra,” he said. “Indonesia is indeed a rich country. I’m really, really inspired.”
— Photos by Nurhayati
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