Bali Beachwear

Right Said Fred may not be the only ones “too sexy for the catwalk”. The fashion crowd in Bali too have their very own take on the international fashion trends, refusing to stick only to what’s hot on the catwalks in Paris, London, Milan, Miami and New York, focusing instead on what’s hot, and cool, in the tropical heat of Bali.

Given that Bali doesn’t have any real seasons to speak of – it’s just a question of degrees of heat on our island paradise – the designers who ply their trade on the world-renowned shopping streets of Kuta and Seminyak could be forgiven for ignoring the various trends coming out of the seasonal fashion weeks all over the world.

Take the fashion trends to come out of the Spring 2009 New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Things like high cinched waists on trousers, skirts and shorts would make life fairly uncomfortable in a climate where cooling sea breezes need room to be effective. And as for the harem pants, ideally “paired with belts, chunky heels, and drapey tops,” as one fashion blogger put it, and Cleopatra-inspired, heavily jewelled necklines… well, there’s little room in Bali’s easy, breezy beach culture for such fussy additions to our wardrobes.

A sentiment again echoed when viewing the most recent trends to come out of the Autumn 2009 fashion weeks worldwide… Big shoulder-padded shoulders a la the 80s? Matching 80s-Madonna neon colours? Murky mustard from top to toe? These are all fashions that just don’t cut the mustard, so to speak, in sunny Bali.

Then there were such lovely floaty designs as asymmetrical, flowy dresses and tops; Grecian goddess white maxi-dresses; draped, sheer fabrics; hippie chic peasant blouses, flowery prints and loose-fitting tops and bottoms; floaty ruffles and bows… All these translate beautifully onto Bali beaches, although, if truth be told, all of the abovementioned are things Bali-based designers have been doing for years already.

Of course, no designer can truly remain immune to the suggestions of such style mavens as Zac Posen, Ralph Lauren, BCBG Max Azria, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenberg and co. Biker chic, for example, has made it off the ramp onto the sweltering streets of Bali – minus the leather pants… that would just be too sweaty! “I would say the trend is going both romantic and rock this year,” explains Magali Pascal, a revered fashion name right here in Bali. “Shapes are fitted close to the body, very sexy, and lots of frills mixed with metal studs, fringes, zippers a.k.a. Biker Chic,” she said.

Made de Coney of Lily Jean, another name worshipped here in Bali by the fashionable set, too has her own take on the trends. “As far as following trends, that’s inevitable. It’s and energy in the air all over the world, with all the visual information we get putting us designers on a global track. I am certainly influenced by what I see and hear, but I most definitely don’t limit myself to ‘trends’. I like to follow what feels right for the Lily Jean label. I am inspired by a lot of things: my daughter, lover, friends, nature and books,” she explained. “Everything goes: bright colours, shapes, loose, tight, long, short… you name it, it’s all good.”

How does all this translate into the summery fashions essential for keeping cool, and avoiding looking unfashionably sweaty, here in Bali? “Obviously, for Bali, we won’t sell our more ‘wintery’ designs created for the international market. But, equally, some pieces would be too sexy for, say, the Australian market, while they are great for a special Bali crazy night out,” muses Magali. “I just finished designing Spring 09, which is a mix of baby doll rock, with some very sexy rock and roll pieces, and into deep Sahara summer… things like long pants jumpsuits,” which come straight off the Milan catwalk.

Made too thinks ‘sexy’ has found a great home in Bali. “We’re coming in with a new collection by June/July with some very sexy elastic dresses, lots of maxi dresses, geometric prints and some very cool modern beaded party dresses.”

“The trick is to be both original and commercial,” Made firmly believes. “Fashion labels like Magali Pascal, Biasa, and of course, Lily Jean are getting that right here in Bali.” Magali too rates the designs found in Bali as holding their own on the world stage. “Lots of designers in Bali are now more and more trying to follow the international trend of fashion. There are some great shops where you can find high fashion items on Jl. Raya Seminyak and Jl. Laksmana in Oberoi”. The bottom, or hem, line of the matter, though, is that Bali designers ‘adapt it in their own unique way to the tropical climate’. And therein lies the rub of cool cotton, silk and satin against sexy, tropical, sun-warmed skin.


abhi said...

fine what about u dear ?

BeatNik Thoughts said...

Hi, thanks for following my blog. I enjoyed reading some of your articles as well. Bali was my first holiday destination when I started working. I really fell in love with that place. I was simply amazed by the culture, the people and the food. I've added your blog in my follow list as well. Cheers!