Fashion designer Oscar Lawalata’s “lifelong mission” to mine the wondrous depths of Indonesian culture has turned up some remarkable-looking gems.
In a soft voice with a slight lisp and with an impeccable posture marking him a practitioner of yoga, Oscar Lawalata recalls the first bespoke dress he designed for pop singer Titi DJ back in 1998.
“[It was] an empire-cut dress with a flared skirt using very flowing, floaty material. She was my first client,” he says.
It was the year Oscar opened his first boutique on Jl. Senopati, partnering with high school friend Novie, an aspiring interior designer whose tenun handicrafts were displayed at the rear of the store they shared.
Halfway through his second year of a three-year diploma course in fashion design at ESMOD, a French fashion school with a branch in Jakarta, he was forced to choose between an ed...