This year marks the 4th anniversary of Indonesia National Batik Day. In 2009, UNESCO designated Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. UNESCO defines oral and intangible heritage as “the totality of tradition-based creations of a cultural community expressed by a group or individuals and recognized as reflecting the expectations of a community in so far as they reflect its cultural and social identity.” Therefore, with this acknowledgement and to commemorate our National Batik day, I want to give a tribute to the late IWAN TIRTA who is considered as THE BATIK MAESTRO of Indonesia. Iwan Tirta was a friend and a mentor. He passed away from his illness in 2010 when he was 75 years olds. Indeed, he is missed but I know he had touched and contributed invaluable knowledge to this country that he will never be forgotten.
I remember, when I first met Iwan Tirta perhaps 10 years ago when my company Bubu was designing Iwan Tirta’s website at that time. That was when he took me under his wings and taught me a lot of things not only about Batik but about his philosophies in life. Like what I wrote in my previous blog post on him, Mas Iwan (I would call him) would tell people that I had known him since I was young and a little girl… NOT so true though, younger perhaps hehehe, but not when I was little. Well, I guess it was translating to the fact that he felt close to me that it seemed, he had known me for the longest time. Then he would tell people that he actually watched me grow as a person…perhaps this one is quite true. Mas Iwan, then would tell me and share his understanding of the life cycle , that it is like a wheel that turns, sometimes you will be on top, and other times you can be at the bottom, but that’s just Life in general. I believe that so and that’s why I always drive myself to do as much while I am given the opportunity to do so. Well, anyhow, I think mas Iwan Tirta was a very fascinating individual to talk to, be it about his philosophy in life or how sacredly meaningful the pattern of a certain batik cloth. He was the one person who had a very indepth knowledge on Indonesian cultures, lifestyle and of course Indonesian Batik. I recall, even in his 70′s, mas Iwan still did his own batik at his house in Panarukan, designed batik on ceramics and silvers, still traveled around the world to give a talk, and still had time to become a restaurant consultant, which made him one of the most inspiring and hard working persona of the century. It was always delightful to have him as a company. From time to time, I would visit him at his house or we would go out to lunch and just enjoying the food and the conversations. Many prominent and public figures of the world had also the chance to wear his BATIK clothing, among them are Bill Gates of Microsoft, Queen Elizabeth II, former US president Bill Clinton, Queen Sophie from Spain and Queen Juliana from Netherland.
I dedicate this post to IWAN TIRTA, so I want to show you the batik cloth that I own which was actually handpicked by the maestro himself. It is a gorgeous silk woven batik sarong that has a traditional, classical Solo batik motives on one side, combined with traditional Pekalongan flowers Pesisir batik motives on the other sides. This batik sarong motives are taken from the combination of 3 different batik centre’s motives. The Body of this sarong is combination of the well known Parang Rusak pattern from the court of the Sultan of Yogyakarta, Central Java arranged in a geometrical pattern in combination with pattern of Babon Angrem or Roosting hen, from the court of Mangkunegaran, in Solo, Central Java. The interesting touch here, Iwan Tirta did Buketan or flower bouquet motive for the head of the Sarong, which was inspired from the Oei Soe Tjoen workshop in Kedungwuni, Central Java. The flower motives also were applied on the edges at the end of the Sarong. I love how this batik sarong is so vibrant in colours and the huge parang rusak motives are very much Iwan Tirta. I remember he gave me an advice on what to wear with this batik sarong. He said: “You should just wear this with a plain black turtle neck and a big belt around it, making the sarong to look like an A line long skirt. This way you will have a similar style with Sharon Stones.” Hahaha, yes he was acting like my fashion stylish at one point and that advice actually stuck in my head till today. So below, I am presenting to you the gorgeous Iwant Tirta batik sarong based on his styling. Wore the batik sarong with just a short sleeve plain black mock turtle neck by Giordano Ladies, added a corset like half vest for the waist by ALEXANDER WANG to hide the knot where I tied the batik at and paired it with my Black suede Celine wedges. I love it…so chic, classy and yet the outfit has a sense of couture meets high street fashion. To honor him, I took the picture at KEMBANG GOELA, which is a high end Indonesian restaurant that he consulted from the time it was first opened. It is one of my favorite restaurant in Jakarta, love the food and the gorgeous interior. Thank you Iwan Tirta, for sharing your knowledge and your love for our cultural heritage. You are missed. HAPPY BATIK DAY EVERYONE. #BatikDay
What I wore: Giordano Ladies black Mock Turtle Neck, Waist corset by Alexander Wang, Silk woven Batik sarong by Iwan Tirta, Heraldic style Leather wrap bracelet by Sass & Bide, Rutilet stone Ring by Batu Alam Kalimantan, Vintage ROLEX from my father-in law, Black Suede wedges by CELINE, Skull studded clutch by Alexander McQueen. Thank you so much to Aryan Januar @aryanzjanuar and Kevin Reinaldo for such professional and wonderful photos.