Determined to innovate for difference, international fashion designer Farah Angsana is exploring her international inspiration of design through her latest masterpieces which are inspired by the beauty of her motherland.
Born in Medan, brought up in London and Los Angeles, and currently resides in Zurich, Farah made her debut showcasing her collection in Paris back in 2002, and has ever since featured her haute couture and bridal collections in esteemed events such as Long Angeles and New York fashion weeks.
Classic, gorgeous and elegant are the three words that best describe Farah’s designs. In fact, her collections have been bought by prominent buyers such as London department store Harrod’s, Kleinfeld in New York and Renee Strauss in Beverly Hills.
A number of private couture clients, ranging from the Middle East royal family to Hollywood stars, have been pleased with Farah’s
high octane tailoring. Ashley Greene, Alicia Silverstone and Katherine Heigl are among world class celebrities who wear Farah’s gowns.
After all the success, Farah pays homage to her homeland, bearing the name “Indonesia” as the theme of her latest collection.
Exploring on the kebaya blouse, from simple day wear to the extraordinary wedding sarong kebaya, her Spring 2011 collection has amazingly made a big hit on the haute couture scene with Indonesian-influenced masterpieces.
Her Spring 2011 collection has got the world’s attention. Farah has overwhelmed with worldwide rave media reviews. “I never thought that kebaya cocktail dress I created could achieve such a success during and after my show in New York. It is a great honor, indeed, to see the world appreciates the culture of my country with full of admiration.”
What inspired you to choose Indonesia as the theme in your latest collection?
I always wanted to share the culture of my country to the world. I have had passion for Javanese traditional woman dress since I was a young girl. My grandmother, who was mixed Indonesian-Chinese linage, used to wear kebaya as her daily dress. And I started to fantasize if one day I could turn it into a fabulous cocktail dress.
How do you describe the masterpieces in your latest collection?
I blended technology and tradition. I injected the motif of batik into a modern design with intricate embroidery and couture details. The look of my designs is contemporary and sexy, yet maintaining the true spirit and warm attitude of Indonesian people, which I interpreted in the use of vibrant colours.
What are your personal attributes that have climbed you to today’s success?
Dedication, courage, passion, knowledge, experience, talent, luck, hard work, and constant travel for inspiration. Those are, in my opinion, also what needed for an Indonesian designer to go international.
Do you believe that the success of a designer counts when he or she goes international?
No! I believe the success of a designer is where he or she is able to sell what he or she has created to those who admire his or her products. To be a successful designer is having the ability to make his or her clients come back for many seasons and years to come.
I would like to see my brand not only become a strong global brand, but also listed as a public company.
What are your favourite fashion brands?
Hermes, Valentino and Chanel. These three brands present their true spirit while maintaining the originality in luxury sector.
Who are your favourite fashion designers?
The originals such as Valentino, Christian Dior, Madame Gres, Balenciaga and Jean Desses. They all were individually successful in their era, and have marked a history in the world of fashion.
What do you like doing at your leisure?
I love watching old classic movies, reading books, listening to music and off course shopping. I can shop ‘till drop for clothes, bags, shoes or even home objects. I also like cooking and experimenting different cuisines with my husband whenever we are in Zurich for the weekend.
How about your favourite food?
I am a food lover. But I don’t have any particular cuisine that I can claim as my favourite. I always love freshly cooked meals, and simply dislike greasy junk food. My favourite dining places are those from Daniel Boulud and La Grenouille in New York to any food court stalls in Singapore and Indonesia.
You have travelled to many places around the world. What are your three best travel destinations?
Bali, South of France and New York. I like Bali because it brings peace and serenity. The island’s rich culture and warm hospitality of Balinese people are truly charming. South of France is amazing, as it has the world’s most amazing luxury resorts with breathtaking views overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. With many different cultures and nationalities, New York has become the world’s biggest melting pot city. And the vibrancy of New York has inspired me to stay optimistic in life.
If you have to express in a sentence, how do you define the meaning of beauty that reflects you?
Great health, happiness and inner beauty which includes intelligence and kindheartedness are what I consider the most important points to a meaningful beauty.
By Aulia R. Sungkar. Published in PMR (S’porean Magazine), January 2011.