Surabaya, so long (for now)
A long overdue post about our fashion week jaunt to Surabaya, and more importantly a roundup of the fashion shows!
Because the trip was so short lived and we only had three days to take everything in, we were extremely grateful for being able to take Royal Brunei flights direct from Bandar Seri Begawan to Surabaya instead of having to do all that horrible transit business in KL (which would have happened, had we taken AirAsia. No thanks!).
We flew in just in time to catch a bit of the Surabayan nightlife on our first night and got a taste of how amazing Surabayan hospitality is from our host provided by the Mayor of Surabaya who came and picked us up from the airport and escorted us to the Java Paragon hotel (this was only the tip of the iceberg. We got police escorts to the Independence Day ceremony, among other amazing things).
Everyone thinks of Bali when they think of Indonesian travel but Surabaya is definitely worth a visit. It's like the supporting actress in a movie. Necesary but less in your face (there are no throngs of tourist, nobody trying to hassle you for a $5 massge) .
It's a city to kick back and relax in, with great shopping, and cultural experiences. The city is developed enough that you still have all the comfort of modern civilization, but still steeped in Indonesian culture, and there's a definite sense of being in another place completely, not just a megaopolis of a city. One of the Bolivian designers agreed with this sentiment when we were wandering around, saying they have favelas which are similar but that Surabaya really has its own charm.
We had such a good time exploring the markets, museums, and retail therapy-ing it up to the max at the malls, although we did not sadly buy this amazing swan collared Valentino sweater that we are already planning to go back for.
It just so happens that everyone else participating in Asian Fashion Week had such a good time too, that they've annoucned Surabaya as the host country for Asian Fashion Week 2015. Now that we've neatly provided a segway for a discussion on all the fashion shows, let's get to the serious stuff.
Asian. Fashion. Week.
We have to admit we were really pleasantly surprised and impressed at the calibre of the collections shows, especially since we had no prior context for the standard of collections. What's especially nice is that they have a mandatory "cultural" theme for a portion of your collection so you get a really cool insight into traditions/ cultures for each country. We loved the hand drawn aboriginal prints from Australian Designer Lilla Gagliano, and the Bibi Russell show at the finale was an ethnic meets fashion dream come true.
There were designers from a range of places, not just within Asia, with collections from Australia, Russia, Bolivia, and Mexico showcased. The standout collection (besides Maricels of course) was a Raffles Jakarta student collection by designers Sean Loh and Sheila Agatha working under the brand name Ophelie. These talented kids won the Harper’s Bazaar Asia New Generation Fashion Designer Award, so they definitely have the goods!
It was such a great experience to not only meet other designers, fashion indusry people, etc from other countries but also showcase Bruneian talent. Maricel is becoming a fast rising star in Brunei and we were so excited showcase how good she is! Her collection was really well received and one of the standouts. Her elegant shapes, and intricate details combined with her play on pastel colours brought a subtle Bruneian theme to her collection with a modern, sophisticated look that was extremely wearable.
One of the things the collective is all about are the promotion of Bruneian talents overseas and so we were extremely grateful for the support of Royal Brunei Airlines with this little endeavour. They were extremely generous in helping ensure us, Maricel and all her couture garments got to and from Surabaya safe and sound and in comfort.
We can't wait for our next adventure but here's a photo flood to give you a taste of this exciting three day experience!