Sun, 01 Oct 2000

Inna mixes it up with new styles

By Agni Amorita

JAKARTA (JP): Designer Inna Rachma puts a lot of confidence in her kebaya collections.

She is one of the pioneers of kebaya (long sleeved Indonesian traditional blouses) design, mixing them with capri trousers or denim slacks back in the 1997 before the big names of Indonesian fashion had spread kebaya-mania among local women.

Viewers expected her to explore kebaya design even further for her latest collection shown at the Borobudur Hotel last Tuesday.

Instead, Inna surprised the audience with a series of appealing ball gowns and during the show she only presented two kebayas combined with a long blue pleated skirts.

The gowns -- consisting of two, three or even four layers of tulle -- stole the show, thanks to their bright colors and delicate ornamentation made from fully embroidered bustiers.

Sold at between Rp 1.5 to Rp 6 million per piece, the ball- gown collections are Inna's new highlight.

"We have quite a large and faithful expatriate clientele who keep asking for beautiful cocktail party outfits," said Mariana, the marketing manager at Inna Rachma's boutique.

The increasing demand for party gowns has inspired her to create simple yet elegant ball gowns and other party dresses.

"But our local buyers still order the kebaya dresses," added Mariana.

Inna Rachma's kebaya are mostly sold at Danarhadi outlets with ethnic colors such as green and brown plus a matching or sometimes shockingly colored long skirt.

Her trademark is flower embroidery -- mostly featuring chrysanthemum and roses. The handmade kebaya is sold at between Rp 900,000 and Rp 3 million per set. As displayed in the fashion show, Inna Rachma has also expanded her business into male attire. But for now she has only created simple shirts.

The show, organized by Jalin Communication which is owned by famous designer Samuel Wattimena, featured a dozen kebaya and a series of Inna Rachma's party dresses, plus another kebaya range from Kristiati and some working attire from Weeta Djemat. The two are considered newcomers to the local fashion scene.

Weeta, the daughter of famous lawyer Gani Djemat, has just returned home after obtaining her degree in fashion in Los Angeles. She left her career making big garments in America which she began nine years ago to start her own label "Faith Avenue" at home. "It was a crisis that made me chose that name," said Weeta who also started her psychology degree this year in Jakarta.

Kristiati launched her Kristiati Batik label about four years ago. Kristiati, who only designs batik kebaya and male shirts, has a handful of helpers from Garut (West Java) and Central Java. Kristiati employs various Hokokai batik motives in her silk batik collections.

Melanie Solagratia, Public Relations Officer at the Hotel Borobudur Jakarta, said that her hotel's monthly fashion show is aimed at introducing new labels to local fashion society.