Harmony in Diversity: A 65-Years Celebration of Indonesia and Japan at The Apurva Kempinski Bali

Fashion show by Torang Sitorus embracing cultural appreciation through beautiful craftsmanship

As part of the Powerful Indonesia Festival, The Apurva Kempinski Bali is collaborating with North Sumatra’s highly-acclaimed fashion designer, Torang Sitorus, presenting a fashion show that embraces mutual respect and cultural appreciation through craftsmanship, fashion, art, and music. On Friday, 18th August 2023 the stage is set for this remarkable occasion of celebrating a milestone of a 65-year diplomatic relationship between Indonesia and Japan with an extraordinary convergence of traditions and artistic brilliance.

Proudly appointed as the sole Indonesian fashion designer for this celebration, Torang Sitorus unveils his ingenious creations, harmoniously marrying North Sumatra’s indigenous fabrics with the elegance of Japanese silk. The heart of Torang’s collection for this exhibition lies in his inventive approach towards Ulos with a new unique selection of colours and his way of styling this emblematic Indonesian textile.

Torang has been mastering the uniqueness of Ulos for 25 years weaving a symphony of sustainability and innovation, meticulously crafted from Japan’s ‘silky cotton bemberg’ threads, from cottonseeds. While the vibrant hues emanate from natural dye colours derived from sources like jolawe leaves, sappan wood, jackfruit wood, leaves extract, true indigo, mahogany fibre, and gambier.

Recently, he serendipitously discovered an array of unexpected softer shades for Ulos when he experimented with textile dyeing wastewater. These shades, reminiscent of the original modest colours of Ulos, also called marhilong, are preferred for traditional processions such as weddings, whilst the new collection with softer colours resonates deeply with collectors and enthusiasts of Indonesian textiles. Nevertheless, Torang’s commitment to authenticity is clearly discernible in his respectful preservation of traditional Ulos patterns of lines, squares, zig-zag, and bamboo shoots. Interwoven with kebaya designs that traverse from the classic to the avant-garde, this unique amalgamation is a seamless marriage of heritage and comfort where traditional craftsmanship meets the dynamic aspirations of the present.

Torang’s previous exhibitions of this collection in Medan, Jakarta, and The Apurva Kempinski Bali have elicited effusive responses, particularly from the Japanese expat community. The resonance has transcended artistic boundaries, sparking cross-cultural collaborations as Torang’s collection has inspired a Japanese textile entrepreneur to integrate Ulos fabrics into his Kimono collection. This growing cultural interplay serves to further strengthen the longstanding diplomatic ties between Indonesia and Japan.

To commemorate the diplomatic relationship between Indonesia and Japan, Torang’s collection is being exhibited through a series of events. The first event was held in Grand Indonesia – Jakarta, in May 2023 with an event titled ‘Heritage of the East, From Toba for a Powerful Indonesia’. The celebration continues to The Apurva Kempinski Bali, celebrated right after the Independence Day of Indonesia in an event titled ‘Harmony in Diversity: A 65-Years Celebration of Indonesia and Japan’. The series will be concluded with the Indonesian Art and Culture Exhibition organised by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Japan with an event titled ‘Exploring the Beauty of Indonesia with Hideo’ in collaboration with Hideo Gallery on
19 August until 9th September 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. These celebratory events stand as a testament to art’s unique power to foster unity, binding nations through shared beauty and artistic expression.

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