Sun, 14 Oct 2001

Newcomer Andrea's blooming career

----------------------------- Asniar Sahab The Jakarta Post Jakarta -----------------------------

She was a newcomer in the fashion world and was known only to a few insiders. Yet Andrea Sutisno became a designer to be reckoned with after her first solo fashion show in April 2000.

She caused a few sensations right from the start. Fashion buffs, for example, were caught by surprise when she paid handsome rates to top models from the 1970s to the present to be part of her show. And, more importantly, she quickly became the talk of fashion circle for her shocking, bold designs.

Andrea understands that the fashion world is always full of rumors and sensationalism, but she has made up her mind to build her career in this profession. She is well aware that as a novice she faces many challenges, yet she also knows that she stands a good chance of succeeding as long as she is consistent with her particular characteristics.

Her solo fashion show this time, on the theme of "Innocentia Creep", took her six months to prepare. She spent a full four months to shape her concept for the show. The result was more than just a presentation of a newcomer's creations.

The stage was all in red, like a park strewn with flowers, and her collection of dresses reflected the floral nuance. Although she still has a lot to learn, her understanding of the concept of design, such as how to present her creations in an elegant and artistic forum, is worth appreciating.

From beginning to end, the eyes of the spectators feasted on the diverse colors of flowers. Transparent silhouettes with details of drapery, asymmetrical shapes, ruffles, backless designs plus all-floral accessories in the form of both small and big corsages embellished Andrea's creations this time.

She was inspired by 1920s' European fashion designs, which she developed by combining a variety of contemporary fashion elements. The impression obtained was of great drama in popular designs for both established people and those still young at heart.

This time, her designs were more feminine, more romantic and more beautiful than her collection last year. They also showed greater seriousness in her understanding of dress design, an overall maturity from her initial effort.

Why flowers as the theme?

"Well, I don't know why. In short, I can see romanticism, elegance and femininity in flowers," Andrea said, acknowledging that she was "obsessed" with flowers for the last two months.

"That's why all of my gown collections as well as their accessories this time use the floral motifs. I can see from these motifs the impression of glamour, and this is really interesting when it gets translated in the design for evening gowns."

Some 70 pieces of evening dresses, including men's wear, were displayed. Certainly, only a limited section of the public is her target, those who are established and the young. No wonder that in her show she chose top models from yesteryear through to today -- Ria Saha, Ria Juwita, Henidar Amroe, Astrid Darmawan, Auk, Keke, Lulu, Karenina, Indah, Caterin -- to illustrate the market she is trying to reach.

Was the presence of such top names merely to create another sensation?

"Certainly not, I needed them simply because I like their character," Andrea replied seriously. "I think my gowns are still suitable for these senior models, who are no longer young. One thing to note is that these senior models performed well on the catwalk. They really got the spirit of the designs. They seemed to understand very well the characteristics of the line that a designer makes. That's why I like them."

Her show was divided into three sequences. The first one suggested mystery with the dominance of black, white and red over the basic materials of taffeta, crepe, lace, silk, cotton chiffon and velvet.

Spring was the second sequence, in which there was greater liveliness and brightness highlighted by colorful floral motifs over chiffon. The third sequence, which used baby blue, pink, purple, terracotta and lavender laces, taffeta and upholstery, sent forth a sense of glamour. All gowns looked feminine, romantic and bold.

Her accessories, such as stilettos and wedge shoes, emphasized the glamorous character of her designs. However, the presence of many flower corsages on the gowns gave them a busy appearance. That was a minor criticism of the show. Andrea must be praised for her efforts in holding her show, and also encouraged to continue her creativity.