Sat, 05 Apr 2003

Designer conveys peace message through latest collection

The Jakarta Post Jakarta

When words do not seem powerful enough to convey a message of peace, a fashion show may serve as a more apt medium and that is what renowned fashion designer Mardiana Ika has ventured to do.

Under the title The Gladiator, the fashion show opened the Asia Global Sourcing 2003 in Bali on March 13 to convey peace.

The use of such a movie title for a peace collection may seem a tad incongruous, but Ika explained that just like in the movie, she wanted to show that human beings, when thrown into a situation that gave them no other choice but to fight for their freedom, would fight.

"The theme (Gladiator) had been in my mind ever since I began working on this collection," she said.

In this collection, Ika was inspired by her experience in helping families of the Oct. 12, 2002 Bali bomb victims search for their loved ones.

"The situation at Sanglah Hospital (in Denpasar, Bali) was very chaotic and a lot of my designer friends were reluctant to come and help. No one wants to be in that kind of situation, but once there, one has to do it," Ika explained.

Using suede, lycra, satin, jersey fabric and prints, Ika designed 40 different outfits.

The Gladiator collection is a far cry from Ika's previous collections with strong local ethnic and cultural nuances.

"Also, in the past I was more involved with hand embroideries using complicated techniques," Ika said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post.

Pipings dominate most of her Gladiator line.

"I challenged myself into doing the most complicated patterns using pipings," she said.

Fur strips were macramed into dresses, scarves and jackets. Chiffon was applied into lycra and jersey fabrics or prints. Satin, suede or lycra were mixed and made into pipings and patched on lycra fabrics. They were designed into a variety of motifs for tops, pants, skirts and jackets.

The collection was divided into three parts. The first part was dominated by dark and muddy earth colors reminiscent of the gladiator's outfit, the dirt in the arena and the brownish Colosseum. The second part of red burgundy and berry reflected victory after the fight, while bright white and blue -- the colors of serenity and peace -- finished the collection.

"It shows the transition from a chaotic situation into a peaceful one," Ika explained.

Ika added that she will present a new peace collection inspired by Nobel Peace prize winner and former South African president Nelson Mandela at Bali Fashion Week scheduled from Oct. 13 to 15 in conjunction with the commemoration of the Oct. 12 bombings.

Ika has been invited by Mandela to hold a fashion show in South Africa in August. The show will be held to raise funds for people with HIV/AIDS.

"He (Mandela) adores ethnic textiles. He wears batik or ikat on every occasion," Ika said as quoted by Antara.