Kacang kenari tartlets. (JG Photo/Petty Elliott)

Merry Month of March at Plaza Indonesia

MARCH 23, 2015

One of the most iconic places in Jakarta is definitely the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle. Major happenings in the capital — demonstrations, marathons and rallies — seem to center around the area.

For the capital’s creme de la creme, this area is also a hip place to see and be seen — especially Plaza Indonesia, a high-end mall located near the traffic circle.

“Plaza Indonesia is definitely an icon of Jakarta,” said Astri Abyanti Permatasuri, marketing communications and senior public relations manager of the shopping center.

The mall was initially conceptualized in 1983. Bimantara Eka Santosa, which was a joint-venture between four large business groups, envisioned a high-class shopping mall in the prime area of Jakarta to accommodate the rising demand for such a place at that time.

“In the early 1980s, the country’s economy was growing fast and Indonesia was becoming a target for investment,” Astri said. “But there weren’t many upscale hangouts in Jakarta to cater to the demand of the growing upper-middle class. This market gap drove our founders to set up Plaza Indonesia.”

The mall was finally built in 1986 with US-based architecture and engineering firm, Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum (HOK) as the design consultant.

It opened its doors on March 1, 1990 with Japanese department store Sogo, upscale restaurant La Moda and top international fashion brands such as Aigner, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Versace among its first tenants.

Since then, the shopping mall has undergone three major renovations and expansions. 

Today, Plaza Indonesia boasts two luxury hotels — Grand Hyatt Jakarta and Keraton at The Plaza — and more than 580 tenants, including restaurants, department stores, as well as local and international fashion brands.

In celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, Plaza Indonesia promises to expand even further and host more exciting events.

“We’re so happy to be celebrating our 25th anniversary this year,” said Zamri Mamat, general manager of marketing and communications of Plaza Indonesia.

“As a retail business, we always keep improving ourselves,” Zamri said. “We aim towards establishing Plaza Indonesia as a top shopping destination, not only in Indonesia, but also in Southeast Asia.”

Plaza Indonesia receives approximately 1.1 million visitors per month, consisting not only of local and expatriate residents of Jakarta, but domestic and international tourists as well. 

“We cannot share with you the exact percentage [of the mall’s customer demographic], but the number is quite significant,” Zamri said. 

The list of top international brands in the high-end mall will continue to grow, he added. 

Coming to Plaza Indonesia by the end of this year is US fashion designer Tom Ford’s first store in the country.

“We’re so happy that they’ve chosen us,” said Astri. “They’re very picky in choosing places [to host their store], but when visiting Plaza Indonesia, they were fascinated by all our stylish and fashion conscious shoppers.”

Local fashion lovers may also rejoice, because the popular curated department store Goods Dept, is scheduled to reopen in the middle of this year.

“[Their new store] is going to be bigger and better, with more local fashion brands,” Astri said.

From today through Friday, the mall will also stage Plaza Indonesia Fashion Week (PIFW) 2015 — an annual event since 2010.

“This year, the [Plaza Indonesia] fashion week will focus more on local brands by young Indonesian fashion designers,” Astri said.

The event kicks of with a fashion show by Sebastian Red, premium ready-to-wear label by top Indonesian couturier, Sebastian Gunawan.

“He’s going to present 40 new looks  that were designed especially for our 25th anniversary,” Astri said. “They’re going to be available in Plaza Indonesia only. You cannot find the collection elsewhere.”

High-end batik label Alleira will also use PIFW 2015 to launch its spring/summer collection, themed “Midnight Blue.”

“In this collection, we will present a series of elegant evening gowns using a new technique of [creating] batik with a paintbrush,” said Zakaria Hamzah, head of Alleira Batik.

Another high-end batik label, Bateeq is also scheduled to unveil its spring/summer 2015 collection named “Tumaruntum” during the event.

“The collection will have various floral motifs, which are inspired by the traditional Javanese batik called truntum,” said Michelle Tjokrosaputro, chief executive of Bateeq.

This year’s fashion week is especially exciting for up and coming designer Yosafat Dwi Kurniawan who will have the chance to unveil his latest collection made entirely from traditional fabrics, but with the added sassy touch of the ’60s.

“[The line] will be youthful, cheerful and quite sexy,” Yosafat said.

Wrapping up the event is a show featuring ready-to-wear label (X) S.M.L by prominent Indonesian designer Biyan Wanaatmadja.

“We’re going to present our spring/summer 2015 collection, which was created with a unique technique resembling Japanese origami,” said (X) S.M.L spokeswoman June. “The dominant hues [of the line] is the color of the year, copper orange.”

Participating designers and fans of fashion are then invited to attend an after party at Burgundy Bar & Lounge in the Grand Hyatt Jakarta.

Throughout its anniversary month, Plaza Indonesia is showcasing a photo exhibition featuring 100 top Indonesian artists and celebrities along its ground floor corridors. Among them are actress Dian Sastrowardoyo, harpist Mesty Ariotedjo and photographer Indra Leonardi.

“These are the people that have given us tremendous support over the past 25 years,” Astri said.

On the fourth floor, shoppers can enjoy a series of unique art installations, the result of collaborations between the tenants of the mall and up-and-coming local artists.

“We’re trying to cater to all market segments,” Astri said. “Our core market remains the same: shoppers who are more mature and [financially] settled.

“But we have also seen the rise of successful young people who want to have fun and shop. Plaza Indonesia aims to be a relevant part of that [phenomenon].”

In September this year, the high-end mall is scheduled to dedicate one entire week to men’s wear in the second annual Men’s Fashion Week.

“It’s the only men’s fashion week in Indonesia,” Astri said. “And we’ve prepared something special [for the event] this year. It’s going to be phenomenal.”