Sun, 06 Feb 2000

Ghea Boutique, House of Prayudi keep ethnic flavor hot

Text by Agni Amorita, photos by Mulkan Salmona

JAKARTA (JP): How do you reconcile tradition in these modern times of the 21st century?

Local designers Ghea Panggabean of Ghea Boutique and Arie Seputra from House of Prayudi have their own solutions. Their latest collections, presented in an afternoon tea fashion show at Cascade Lounge of the Mulia Hotel last Friday, showed clearly how both designers can combine contemporary designs with the treasury of Asian traditional artwork.

Ghea, for example, borrowed from the golden days of India's Raj. She took dark blue denim as her medium to express the ethnic romantic theme, combining it with chiffon stretch illustrated with the image of the Hindu god Ganesha in various pastels. To add a "hippie" impression, Ghea put light tassels as details on the denim. She also introduced Y-shaped-neck loose shirt with flower embroidery around the seamed neckline.

The Indian impression was emboldened by the coin-shaped mirrors which were embroidered in the cloth and accessories like handbags. Ghea, who also presented pagoda sleeves, has concentrated in her latest collections on embroidery and bead attachments. Her works are categorized as handmade crafts, with a commensurate price tag reaching up to Rp 1.7 million per dress.

The House of Prayudi offered the genuine Indonesian touch of batik as its main theme. Cleverly wrapped in a sarong-shaped miniskirt, the batik stole the show through the special treatment given by the designer. The skirt was covered with transparent long-sleeve tunic illustrated with famous Tasikmalayan white embroidery. In very soft colors like broken white, pastel green, beige and pink , The House of Prayudi also created three-piece dress in a casual style, taken from Jackie O's sleeveless shirt and hats to pinafore-inspired dresses.

Ghea and the late Prayudi were long considered Indonesia's top talent in exposing ethnic art as main them of their fashion collections. At 43, Ghea, or Giskaeni Sukarya Panggabean, has chalked up another achievement by maintaining her ASEAN markets. In Singapore her collection is represented by government-owned MJ Joaquim Boutiques in Liat Towers and The Millenia Walk, while in Malaysia, Ghea has cooperated with The Aseana Boutique on the first floor of Surya KLCC.

Ghea was not at the show because she was on her way to Kuala Lumpur to prepare her next collections for the Aseana Boutique, which asked for more of her sarongs and kebaya dresses. Aseana is considered the place for ASEAN's leading designers to represent their works for the Malaysian market.

The House of Prayudi is strict in continuing the late designer's choice of batik as its fashion identity. Prayudi's successor, Arie Seputra, 38, has no difficulty in following his mentor in adopting batik as their lone fashion language. He has a lot to work with because batik, with its own distinct characteristics, is found in more than 17 of the country's 26 provinces.

Arie sometimes combines the batik with other elements, like West Java's famous embroidery in his latest collection. Items in the collection sell for prices ranging from Rp 500,000 to Rp 3 million per piece. The House of Prayudi is still strong after the death of Prayudi Atmodirdjo, who battled pancreatic cancer until his last day in 1995. Now run by Prayudi's sister-in-law, Lily Atmodirdjo, The House of Prayudi also provides household products including antique Javanese furniture.