Indonesian couture designer Sebastian Gunawan and his wife Cristina Panarese celebrated 25 years of their career in the Indonesian fashion industry with a gala fashion show entitled “Whisper/Roar” in the grand ballroom of Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Pacific Place, on Tuesday (10/10).
“The theme encapsulates our career journey,” the designer said in an interview with the Jakarta Globe after the show.
“When Cristina and I first started, we were like a whisper. Nobody knew who we were. But along the years, our collaboration becomes more and more solid. Our works have now become a roar.”
Cristina and Sebastian met while they were studying fashion at Istituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy. After getting married, they returned to Jakarta and launched their first line “Sebastian Gunawan” in 1992.
The new collection features 80 evening dresses and two bridal gowns, which are all adorned with intricate handmade details.
“Indonesia abounds with highly creative and skilled craftsmen,” Seba — as he is often called — said. “This is an important fact that I would like to highlight in my show.”
The collection is a riot of vibrant colors, patterns and textures.
Sebastian’s dresses are sexy and elegant. But it was the choice of materials and embellishments that truly wowed the full-house audience during the evening.
Sebastian’s silk dresses featured bold floral patterns that were married with exciting color combinations.
“I designed the patterns myself and had them printed on silk in Italy,” the designer said.
Sebastian also presented an adorable cocktail dress made entirely from ribbons.
“We weaved two French ribbons [in similar hues] for the dress,” the designer said.
A cocktail dress made entirely of ribbons. (Photo courtesy of Tim Muara Bagdja)
In another dress, Sebastian pleated and stitched rows of ribbons with subtle color gradations to create a blouse that resembles a pineapple crown.
“It’s a painstaking job,” the designer said. “We had to be very precise [when working with ribbons].”
The designer and his team worked for eight months to create the entire collection.
Sebastian also introduced a new silhouette which he named “dress jumper” in the show. The outfit looked like a long dress when the model struck a pose, but transformed into a jumpsuit when the model moved.
The show peaked with a bridal gown that features Swarovski’s crystals arranged in a beautiful pattern of falling leaves.
Sebastian and Panarese are also showcasing some of their most iconic items in Plaza Indonesia until Oct. 29.
One of the items is an emerald green long coat called “I Miss Bali,” with which they won the International Apparel Federation (IAF) Young Designer Award in 2004.
“It was a memorable moment in our career,” Seba said.
In 2015, the Asian Couture Federation (ACF) also nominated Sebastian as an honorable member and named him “Asian Couturier Extraordinaire.”
So, what’s next for the couture designer?
“I still have so many dreams,” Seba said. “Among them, I hope to create my own furniture line and open my own restaurant someday.”