Susan Hu gets wrapped up in the frontline of contemporary fabric design … Italian chic meets traditional method. Photos: Lucky 8.
PERUSE any market in Bali and you will inevitably be inundated with an ocean of batik. From multi-hued sarongs to patterned handbags, men’s dress shirts and wall hangings, batik is a staple of the Indonesian textile tradition. Yet despite its ubiquity, the majority of batik apparel on offer just doesn’t seem to fit in with what one might consider a sleek and sophisticated wardrobe. Enter Quarzia, a chic boutique that takes the age-old tradition of batik and revolutionises it with modern designs and luxurious fabrics.
Founded in 2004, Quarzia is a haven of contemporary clothing produced using traditional Indonesian batik dyeing techniques. The pieces in their collections are carefully handmade by skilled artisans who come from a background of batik production, and the designers use only the finest fabrics and high-quality dyes. The result is a range of fashion-forward batik pieces that wouldn’t look out of place on the runways of Venice.
The process of making batik is no easy task. Each piece must be made by hand, one at a time, and it takes considerable skill and concentration to produce an exceptional item. First, the designer must draw a pattern or image on the fabric and then apply wax with a special tool to the areas that are not to be coloured. The designer then dyes the entire piece of fabric or hand paints certain areas. When the dye is dry, the fabric is boiled to remove the wax, and the process may start all over again depending on how elaborate and rich the pattern and colour scheme are.
Many of the batik designs created by the talented team at Quarzia are inspired by nature, with tropical flowers, peacock feathers, Koi fish and undulating waves all making an appearance in the collections. Geometric patterns are also prominent, and the designers play with different shapes, lines and colours to produce visual effects that bring to mind the delicate veins of a leaf or the vibrant bursts of light and colour in a sunset. Shading and colour layering also come into play, which creates a soft and sultry effect on the already lush fabrics.
Besides creating unique patterns that are modern and eye-catching, the designers at Quarzia differ from the usual batik producers in that they create classic cuts and styles that are both timeless and cutting edge. Silk dresses drape the body in figure-flattering cascades of fabric, seductive tops fall elegantly off the shoulder to reveal just a hint of skin, and loose, satiny pants feature clean lines that create the illusion of length and provide comfort and room to move.
Head to the bright air-conditioned boutique on Jalan Oberoi to pick up flowing dresses, slinky robes and tops, breezy pants and shorts, lightweight scarves and chiffon skirts, all awash in brilliant hues and bold patterns. Quarzia also has a line of men’s clothing that features semi-formal and casual dress shirts, T-shirts, pants and shorts in light, airy fabrics that are perfect for the tropics. In addition, accessories include leather wallets, belts, bags, fashionable purses and colourful housewares like pillows and placemats.
Tel: 0361 736644 www.quarzia.it