Indonesia First Lady Iriana gets nod from fashionistas

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (third left), with First Lady Iriana Widodo (second left), is accompanied by outgoing president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (fouth left) at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta during the official welcome ceremony on Oct 2
Indonesian President Joko Widodo (third left), with First Lady Iriana Widodo (second left), is accompanied by outgoing president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (fouth left) at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta during the official welcome ceremony on Oct 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The inauguration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalls has created a buzz over the sartorial choices of the nation's new leaders and their wives.

First Lady Iriana wore a soft orange, flowery print kebaya (a traditional blouse) of conventional kutubaru style and dark brown Solo batik for her kain (sarong) with matching sash.

Designer Musa Widyatmodjo from the Association of Indonesian Fashion Designer and Entrepreneurs (APPMI) said that Iriana's ensemble was perfect, reintroducing the national outfit without going overboard.

"It's simple, but classy. I appreciated that the First Lady also wore an old-fashioned suweng (Javanese stud earrings) and jasmine as the only accessories for her hairdo, which perfected her whole appearance."

The executive fashion editor of Femina magazine, Anggia Hapsari, said that Iriana looked her best at the ceremony, as she usually wore casual clothing with little make-up.

"She looked fashionable and poised today. Kutubaru kebaya is actually currently making its comeback in the fashion world.

"Without additional shiny accessories except a sash and a brooch, the kebaya successfully accentuated her down-to-earth personality while she made quite an entrance," Anggia said.

In an interview, Iriana said that the family did not fuss over their wardrobes for the inauguration.

"I just buy batik in Solo and get it sewn either in Solo or in Jakarta," she said.

Out of four kebaya, Jokowi chose an orange one that he said represented the celebratory moment, Iriana said.

It is also, coincidentally, not a colour associated with any political party.

As for the rest of the family, Jokowi wore an old black suit with red tie, while his two sons were clad in batik, while daughter Kahiyang Ayu wore a white kebaya with batik kain.

However, there are some who think the First Family should have a fashion consultant to advise them on creating a harmonious look.

"They don't have to be in uniform, the same style or colour, but at least should wear outfits with a similar theme," said Musa.

"It's advisable for them to think forward in fashion diplomacy. What they wear at international events or overseas visits are not only representing our country but also paying respect to the hosts."