Wednesday, February 9, 2011

like no one's watching

i admire and aspire to be a woman who is completely at ease with herself...
this spread is in dewi magazine's January 2011 issue. 

and these are the ones that did not make it. 

do you notice there are absolutely no heels? :) 

Co-stylist: Zia Baagil 
Photography: luki for lukimages
Make Up & Hair: Philips Kwok
Model: Marcella @JIM
Location: Emilie Restaurant et Bar 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On Styling/ Maria Farida Indrati

I've always felt rather insecure about my styling skills. Unlike most of my talented stylist friends, I tend to have a rather laid-back approach towards beauty. I'm inclined to believe in the innate beauty in all of us but sometimes I do wonder if I'm just lazy. I like the collaborative aspect of putting a spread together--the reference research, the brainstorming of concepts, the building of narrative. I like prepping for a shoot, it gets me excited and nervous at the same time. I'll always be a writer first and foremost but the rewards of producing visuals are more tangible, I feel. People react almost instantaneously to an image they like or dislike. With writing, I'm not so sure. I don't even know if people read. 

In any case, after months of hoping, I was finally allowed to do some styling for Dewi. Of course, my favorite part of the assignment was the opportunity to assemble my favorite group of people together. Although I tend to be quite flexible with concepts, I am picky about the people I work with. Respect and trust are crucial. Trust me, they're hard to come by. There are lots of photographers but not many of them are able to appreciate subtlety. I like subtle. Having said that, I'm very blessed to have had the opportunity to work with luki and I am thankful that he pushed me out of my comfort zone. We did a profile shot of Indonesia's first female constitutional judge, Prof. Dr. Maria Farida Indrati, S.H, M.Hum. Whatever concerns I might have had, disappeared the minute luki's shutter clicked. I felt at ease. And I'm very proud of the result--not only because they're aesthetically beautiful but because they are images of of a woman who is educated, enabled, empowered. Here's the image that made it into the magazine: 

And here are the ones that didn't:

Click here for the full-length article by Rustika Herlambang, Dewi's own feature editor and a respected journalist in her own right. 

And this is why I love what I do. 

Photography by luki for lukimages
Wardrobe by Oka Diputra
Make Up by Ditto Purnomo 

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Motley Crew of Outcasts in a Utopian Island

For those of you wondering what Onrop! is, it's acronym for Porno, which translates in English as...well...PORN! It's a musical directed by Joko Anwar, an Indonesian movie director & screenwriter much loved for his biting social commentary and mean sense of humor. 

Those in the know have been following the development of this much anticipated production since the much publicized audition process. Well it's finally being performed on stage at Teater Besar, Taman Ismail Marzuki starting from November 13. Tonight I had the privilege of witnessing the incredible performance for myself. First and foremost, it was A LOT OF FUN! The cast delivered a solid performance. I'm not gonna discuss the synopsis, those of you curious enough should visit the website and find out for yourself. 

Leaving the theater at the end of the performance, all I felt was pride. Satire is no longer illegal!!! Hurrah! There's even a spoof on the recent hand-shaking scandal! What's even better is that it was a full house!  People actually pay to watch a locally-produced musical for god's sake! What a breakthrough. How heartwarming to know that there are THAT many people who care! It's unbelievable. I's theater. Who watches theater here? But seriously, the success of Onrop! proves that quality will eventually generate interest. So congratulations to the entire Onrop! cast and crew. To those who have not seen don't want to miss it. seriously!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jakarta Fashion Week 2010/2011: Priyo Oktaviano for Cita Tenun Indonesia

Indonesia is blessed with the most beautiful traditional textiles. These take so long to make and considered so valuable that in the old days, only royals and aristocrats were able to wear them. Fortunately, times are a changin' and people finally began to realize that these textiles do not have to remain as relics of the past. A lot of our designers now take on the challenge of revamping the image of traditional textiles, bringing them forward into modern times and making them wearable, not just as sarongs or shawls. I think it's admirable that there has been this collective effort to modernize traditional hand-woven textiles because as you can see, they are nothing short of amazing! 

But beyond that, it is also imperative for the Indonesian fashion industry to carve an identity of its own. New York has its sportswear, London its androgyny, Milan its tailoring and Paris its avant-garde. Indonesia is colorful, diverse, entrenched in history. We just need to figure out a way to incorporate all that into the every day. I've always been an avid proponent of Ready To Wear. Exclusivity can sometimes be overrated, I think. Wearing a custom made creation doesn't make me feel superior or special. On the contrary, it makes me feel rather isolated. RTW collections allow the designer to fully realize his/her vision, execute his/her workmanship and monitor his/her evolution. We need to be able to see that in order to identify who's good and who's not. Plus, it's always enjoyable to have conversations about a particular collection. RTW collections also pose a challenge to wearer to really WEAR the piece, infuse his/her own style into it, instead of having the piece dictate who he/she should be. 

In any case, I digress...I've posted some pictures I took during Jakarta Fashion Week 2010/2011. The designer behind it is the uber-talented Priyo Oktaviano who used to work under Nicolas Ghesquiere at Balenciaga. Would love to hear what you think :) 

Monday, November 8, 2010

For The Love Of...

So I've decided to resume blogging...

Current city: Jakarta. I guess everyone eventually gravitate towards home. I still complain about this city and I occasionally experience Tokyo-withdrawal BUT Jakarta's where I am. 

Funny thing is, I also returned to my former employer, Femina Group, where I now also resumed my work as Fashion Editor of Dewi magazine. I don't think any of this is coincidental. People ask me, so why did you go to Tokyo in the first place and waste all that time? I say, I found a new perspective. I'm glad that I went. I'm glad that I came back. Everything is how it's supposed to be. 

Anyways, I digress. The reason I wanted to start blogging again is because Jakarta is in the middle of its third fashion week, an annual event that Femina Group organizes with the support of various other sponsors and organizations. It is still in its infancy and there are of course much to be done and improved upon but I'm proud of it. I'm proud of our local talents, our local products...and aside from the grand, lofty ambition to put Indonesia in the global fashion map, I feel truly moved and inspired by the beauty that this country possesses. In spite of the natural disasters, the horrendous traffic jams, the poverty, the corruption; Indonesia is an innately beautiful country. 

So please, check out and @JKTfashion on Twitter. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Caffeine Cravings

Anyone who knows me the slightest bit understands my attachment to coffee and cafes. Lucky for me, Tokyo is brimming with mesmerizingly beautiful cafes that serve good coffee...and cakes...(these two come hand in hand, you see). I had read about A-Z Cafe in one of those trendy tokyo guides and was immediately intrigued by the Yoshitomo Nara-inspired decor. Nara has been one of my favorite Japanese contemporary artists--I even drove all the way from SanFran to San Diego just to see his exhibition. So why not get on the JR to Omotesando, right? 

True to the theme, there was a tiny room, which resembled the artist's work space, I suppose. You're not allowed to enter but you can take a peek from the windows. I don't think that the design of the place was revolutionary or anything but it felt warm and cozy...but then again I've always been drawn to wooden fixtures. 

Anyways, I decided not to order coffee that day because I was broke and something else caught my attention. Namely this gigantic Macha Parfait.

Another one of my favorite newly-discovered area is Naka-Meguro. There's this quaint little street divided by the most charming river just a short walk from the station. On each side of the street were some pretty inspiring indie/vintage boutiques of the most kick-ass kind. 

It was raining when I went there, which made the atmosphere even more subdued and melancholy. There were lots of cute dog boutiques and salons that only remind me of my lil Timmy. Anyways, look what I found!

As charming as that Beetle Mobile was, I decided to chill at this cafe called ie, which is Japanese for "house." I love the Japanese approach to naming their things--always simple and straightforward. Flower shops usually bear the name of the owner + hana-ya (which means flower shop). I don't know if it would sound as charming in Indonesian though. Toko Bunga Budi. haha anyways...I ordered a cheesecake and iced coffee :)

Naka-Meguro's neighboring area is the very posh Daikanyama. I'm not even going to start talking about how that place makes me feel like a pauper. BUT it's always been a strong belief of mine that even if you can't afford nice things, you can always afford good food. That's exactly what I did one morning when I decided to up my spirits by strolling around Daikanyama. Found this lovely bistro with an outdoor patio--Parisian style. 
Ordered a watermelon-flavored Perrier and Caprese sandwich :) 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sanja Matsuri, Asakusa

Part of the reason why I love Japan so much is their unflinching veneration towards their history and culture. That's what makes Japan such a fascinating culture to observe, I think. Express trains and automated machines aside, I find it absolutely moving that they are still very much attached to their roots. This is a society obsessed with Louis Vuitton and Western everything yet they travel domestically, eat locally grown and produced food, purchase Made in Japan products and (to the dismay of incoming foreigners) speak only Japanese. 

Anyways, my friends and I went to Asakusa a couple of weeks ago to check out one of the biggest annual festivals in Japan called Sanja Matsuri. Asakusa is famous for its gargantuan Hozomon gate and the Buddhist Senso-ji temple. For all my photographer friends, a lil trivia: the Senso-ji is dedicated to Kannon (or Guan Yin in Mandarin). The Kanji for Kannon (観音) means sight and sound, hence...Canon camera. Geddit? 

Well, as soon as we arrived we were greeted with a loud bellowing sound coming from the mikoshi (portable shrine) carrying mob. When we got closer, I was surprised to find that a lot of the ojisans weren't wearing pants. Okay, that sounds like an ignorant foreigner comment...i know it's a traditional thing but still...I was scarred for life ( I exaggerate but you know that :P ). Underwear sightings aside, I had a lot of fun watching the procession...all I saw were smiles...and the energy was infectious. 

you see what i mean?

You see that fountain above? That's where you wash your hands and rinse your mouth before you offer up your prayers. First your left hand, then your right then with the water in your left hand you rinse your mouth. This is similar to the Muslim wudhu. I'm sure you've seen this in Japanese dramas or movies, you know how they clap twice before prayer. Apparently that symbolizes your humility as you face the deities, it means you come with empty hands, bearing no weapons, with an open heart. Isn't that beautiful? on to the fun part. The great thing about matsuris is of course the FOOOD!!! I almost died of excitement. I ate like a hippo, I couldn't help myself. 

Candied Fruits

Chocolate-covered Banana with Sprinkles