Sun, 06 Aug 2000

Amalia takes pride of place at contest

By Mehru Jaffer

JAKARTA (JP): Hot Synthetic, the design that dazzled the judges most at the first creative fashion contest held here recently was inspired by little more than a ball of thread.

AR Amalia S, 23, the petite designer with a soaring imagination responsible for creating Hot Synthetic said that she sat fiddling with some thread one day when the idea dawned on her to make a dress without first weaving the thread into cloth.

Then she gave her flight of fantasy a little more shove and painstakingly began to wrap fine synthetic cable thread around an umbrella-shaped miniskirt cut from a fabric stiff with starch.

To live up to the title of Hot Synthetic, she chose to work in the color red and designed a thin strip for a blouse in the same material just to cover the breast and held together with cable strings that criss-crossed the bare chest and then snaked around the slender neck of the model.

The result was a sexy outfit that screamed out at the audience that indeed the year 2000 was here to stay. Apart from a Palm Award, the design has also won for Amali, a final year student of Institute Seni Indonesia, Yogyakarta Arts Institute, a one-year scholarship to ESMOD, Jakarta's prestigious school of fashion design.

Along with Charles Sie, 22, from Surabaya who was judged second, Amalia will also receive Rp 15 million to finance her boarding and lodging during her year-long stay in Jakarta. The other five winners will get an opportunity to do short courses at the same school.

This was the first creative fashion contest organized by Plaza Senayan for young Indonesians, mainly to retain the shopping mall's reputation as the center of high fashion and to divert the tremendous energy of the country's youth into something positive and creative.

"The response has been most encouraging," said Natalie A. Hatmarini, promotions manager of Plaza Senayan, and one of the 10 members of the jury that included well-known fashion designer Musa Widyatmodjo, ex-model Larasati and fashion editor of Femina magazine Sonny Mushlison.

Notices announcing the contest half a year ago attracted 460 applicants from all over the country, out of which 20 finalists were chosen and seven were declared winners.

The contest, which proved to be a fantastic trip into an imaginative world of colors, textures and style, is expected to become an important annual event at Plaza Senayan.

Asked which outfit of the 20 was her favorite, Amalia promptly replied, "Tramp Madness", the funky dress designed by Charles Sie and paraded to wild music by a stunning model.

The daughter of a policeman who wanted his eldest child to study either medicine or engineering, Amalia went on strike after high school. It was either the art college in Yogyakarta or no further studies for her, she told her parents. Her good hearted but simple parents were angry at first but once they realized how determined their daughter was to study art they relented, although reluctantly.

It was only in her last year of high school that Amalia realized how much she wanted to play with colors and patterns.

Her eyes had opened wide to the rainbow colored scene of fashion in the country and it was designer Harry Darsono who inspired her most with his bold and extremely creative designs that did not compromise to please just commercial interests. By the time she graduated, her mind was made up. She was sure that she wanted to spend the rest of her life designing clothes.

"When I tried to explain to my family that I was putting together a dress made from synthetic thread, they just smiled. It was obvious that they had no clue what I was talking about. Then they came to the contest last Sunday and saw the fashion show and looked rather impressed.

"But when the master of ceremonies announced that the winner was number 16, I could not believe my ears. I kept checking the number pinned on me again and again. I could not imagine in my wildest dream that they wanted me, out there on stage, before an applauding audience to receive the first prize," Amalia said, adding that both she and her family were still in a state of happy shock.

However, all their fears for the future of their little, but obviously talented, daughter will hopefully soon dissolve into pure pride.