An Oriental orchestra plays at the opening of the 'Spring Emperor' fashion installation in Senayan City, South Jakarta, on Wednesday (18/01). (JG Photo/Sylviana Hamdani)

'Spring Emperor': Local Designers Glam Up for Chinese New Year


JANUARY 22, 2017

Jakarta. Roosters are proud animals. Boasting a sturdy physique and crowned with a prominent red comb, these fowls puff their chests to crow at the crack of dawn, announcing the coming of a new day.

The year of the rooster according to the Chinese lunar calendar will begin on Jan. 28. Under the fire element, this year is believed to be exceptionally grand and glamorous, full of drastic changes and excitement.

To celebrate the Lunar New Year, Senayan City mall has brought glamour to its main atrium with a fashion installation called "Spring Emperor."

A massive imperial Chinese structure, faintly reminiscent of the "Hall of Supreme Harmony" at the Forbidden City in Beijing, sprawls at the center of the atrium. Red and fuchsia flowers are strewn on its golden stairs.

Standing at the stairs are ebony mannequins, dressed in resplendent attires, created by ten of Indonesia's up-and-coming designers.

Among the chosen designers are Andreas Odang, Mel Ahyar, Rinaldy A. Yunardi, Sebastian Gunawan and Stella Rissa.

"These designers are the talk of the town these days," Halina, marketing director of Senayan City, said at a press conference on Wednesday (18/01). "Many people adore their collections. And their works have also brought pride to Indonesia's fashion industry."

Andreas Odang, inspired by an old Chinese poem, has created a dramatic fit-and-flare cheongsam for the installation.

"The poem tells the story of a young girl, who is heartbroken because her lover has to leave her to go to war," the 35-year-old said. "This dress is what I imagine she would have worn on the day when they're finally reunited."

The red dress is made entirely of French lace and adorned with layers of ribbons, which are arrayed to resemble roosters' feathers.

"It's a tedious job [to create rooster feathers from ribbons on the dress]," the designer said. "Twelve of my tailors took a week just to work on this part."

The result is a graceful attire that you can wear to special ceremonies.

"I think it'd be a proper gown to wear during Tea Pai and Sangjit ceremonies," Andreas said.

Sangjit is a traditional Chinese marriage ritual in which the groom-to-be and his family comes to the house of the bride-to-be to formally ask her hand in marriage.

Tea Pai is another traditional Chinese marriage ritual in which the newlyweds perform a tea ceremony after their wedding to give thanks to their parents.

Mel Ahyar names the dress that she presents in the installation "Tian Hou Dream" (Dream of the Heavenly Queen).

"I was inspired by Wu Zetian when making the dress," the designer said. "She was China's first and last empress in the seventh century. She ruled wisely and during her tenure greatly improved China's culture and education."

The A-line cheongsam is made of Chinese silk and embellished with three-dimensional appliqu├ęs, which depict a rooster in a flower garden.

"You can wear it for the Tea Pai ceremony or to attend any formal function," Mel said.

Stella Rissa showcases a slim-fit modern cheongsam in the H-line silhouette of the 1920s. A long tail, made of red-and-burgundy brocade, extends from its cape.

"It's a special two-tone handwoven brocade that I bought in Shanghai in 2012," she said. "I've transformed it to a chic, modern-minimalist dress, which is my signature style."

At the center of the installation is a figure of an empress, dressed in a bejeweled black dress by Indonesian couturier Sebastian Gunawan.

At the top of the stairways is the "emperor" wearing a red kimono and a golden tiara created by celebrity jewelry designer Rinaldy A. Yunardi.

The installation will be displayed at the mall's main atrium until Feb 5.

Until then, the mall will also host a series of modern and traditional performances, including Lion Dance, Wushu and Oriental Orchestra.