Mel's Place

Published: Wednesday November 26, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday November 26, 2014 MYT 9:02:38 AM

There’s more to beautiful Bali than sun-soaked holidays

The designer (second from right) at the Bali Fashion Tendance 2015.

The designer (second from right) at the Bali Fashion Tendance 2015.

Our columnist discovers a different side to fashion ... and her son.

MY fashion marathon, which is what I dub this frenetic period of the year, continued with a trip to Bali just after Japan. I love Bali and tend to associate it with leisure holidays filled with sun-soaked days, spas, good food and shopping. Unfortunately, when I’m there for work, it’s not quite like that – but we had a great time anyway.

By “we” I mean Dirk, our younger son Mika and I. This was a special trip for Mika, as it was the first time he was accompanying his Mama for a fashion show. I must say, you discover a different side of your children when you’re away from home with them. Although I’ve always known Mika to be more introspective than my elder two, this trip brought out this aspect of his personality more.

Unlike Maya, for example, who’s easy-going and always finds things to amuse herself as well as others, Mika likes to keep to himself and enjoys things like swimming, which don’t require him to meet and socialise with others. That’s not to say he didn’t have fun in Bali. But fun to him is different for his super sociable sister. He also loved observing the models on the runway, and gave me a running commentary on the ones he liked best.

This was my first show in Bali after 10 years. My last outing was Bali Fashion Week 2005, when I was pregnant with Max. I thought it was interesting that this time, I’m pregnant with our fourth child. It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed from my last show and now this is another reminder of how time flies. The Bali Fashion Tendance 2015 was organised by the Association of Indonesian Fashion Designers & Entrepreneurs (APPMI Bali), who is also behind the big Indonesia Fashion Week in Jakarta which I attended. It was held at the very chic and modern TS Suites in Seminyak. We were put up at the same hotel in a suite, which was divine.

The two-day affair is considered Bali’s most prestigious fashion event. Considering the number of designers who participated, I felt it was a little too short to do justice to everyone. There were so many talented designers from the Indonesian fashion industry like Ali Charisma, Monika Weber, Putu Aliki, Oka Diputra and Taruna Kusmayadi, whose works are simply amazing. There were also some foreign designers based in Indonesia. I was the only one from Malaysia, but I’m so glad I went.

Although it was just a two-day, two-night show, they had 100 models on stage. Everything was so well organised, from the production stage to the lighting, the sound system, decorations to the backstage set-up. You couldn’t help but be impressed. When shows are organised with such a high level of professionalism, it’s really great fun.

Despite the heat, I was quite relaxed throughout. We showcased 22 outfits from our Spring/Summer 2015 ready-to-wear collection, which were well received. Some of the compliments we received were that the outfits were refreshing, modern, colourful, trendy and wearable. Who knows, perhaps we can start marketing our clothes there...

If I had to choose designers who made a real impression on me during this event, the list would have to include Oka Diputra, Ali Charisma and Putu Aliki. Oka presented a very funky men’s collection with harem pants that even I would love to wear. Ali showcased some pretty dramatic yet wearable evening wear, replete with ball skirts and gowns. Putu is a funky designer for both men and women, with sporty and trendy knitwear for the energetic and young at heart.

But, there were so many others who were also very good. One thing I really admire about Indonesian designers is how patriotic they are. You can see how proud they are of their heritage by the way they use songket, tenun and batik in most of their creations.

This was a really successful event and I hope to be able to come back more often!

Other than the show, we did manage to sneak in a trip to the beach one easy morning. It was Mika’s second time ever by the sea, and we discovered how much he loves waves, running into them and diving into the water. That was probably the highlight of his trip to Bali. It was super cute how he referred to the sea as a swimming pool. I guess, in his eyes, it was just a giant moving pool! We also made the most of the excellent shopping in Bali to get some early Christmas presents for the family. Although the prices are slightly higher than I remember them, Bali is still a treasure trove of lovely items.

If there was anything that didn’t live up to expectations, it was my all-time favourite Indonesian dishes, soto ayam and sate. I tried these delicacies at two different restaurants, but both times was disappointed, as they tasted artificial. Of course, this just means that I have to come back and unearth the best places for soto and sate next time.

Meanwhile, terima kasih Bali and to all the designers for your warmth and hospitality. Rest assured, we will see you soon again!

> Award-winning fashion designer Melinda Looi tries to marry consumerism and materialism with environmental consciousness. She believes her greatest creations are her children. Send your feedback to

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Melinda Looi, fashion, Bali, travel

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