Young designers choose modern, simpler batik

Batik's rising popularity as witnessed in the past few years is unlikely to see a downward trend with batik producers and fashion designers continuing to create innovative designs.

Answering the rising demand among young socialites, batik producer Parang Kencana has brought in up-and-coming young designer Ronald V. Gaghana. Parang Kencana also created a new line, Liris, with trendy designs styled by Cynthia Risjad.

Founder and art director Mariana Sutandi said she invited Ronald to design for Parang Kencana in order to cater to the younger fashion buyers.

"I've always wanted batik to be accepted by all age brackets, from young to old," she said.

Batik was formerly known as only worn for formal occasions and traditional ceremonies. "It was associated with a certain age group and certain occasions," she said.

Ronald ventured into fashion designing in 1995 with a label under his own name. He is one of the rising designers in Indonesia, with his newest label Mulla, released two years ago, growing 70 percent annually.

He said he wanted to create something different. "My designs are more modern and simpler, but with a lot of details. They are casual, and can be combined with other clothing items such as jeans."

A fashion show was held Wednesday and Thursday for the launching of Liris and Parang Kencana by Ronald. Colorful and ornate batik was seen everywhere on guests who attended the show.

Koming, senior model from the 1990s, was among the models striding down the catwalk.

Dancers carrying batik scarves put the show in motion. Next was a line of colorful loose blouses with combined batik patterns, worn with purple stockings.

The blouses had wide sleeves and puffed balloon sleeves. Models were also clad in spaghetti strap dresses, halter neck long dresses, and short skirts with low V-neck tops.

The hand-painted batik was shown in various colors of pink, purple, blue, light brown, green and yellow. The patterns were modern and always mixed and matched.

Colorful batik shirts for men were also showcased. Hues of brown, blue, purple and white were subtly combined in a diagonal batik design. A shirt of blue and dark green reflected a calm mood.

Opened in 1993, Parang Kencana's products are handmade. Other earlier lines included Parang Kencana, Parang Ayu, Soga, Tjindae and De Witte.

Except for its signature line, which is derived from traditional batik designs with vertical motifs, the other lines are categorized according to color: Parang Ayu focuses on blue and white, Soga on shades of brown, Tjindae likes the striking colors and De Witte's are white with touches of pale colors.

-- Prodita Sabarini; http://www.thejakartapost.com