A food, fashion and cultural extravaganza is coming to Jakarta, complete with Betawi puppets, dragon dancers and fireworks — and that’s only on the first night.
Starting on Saturday, Sentra Kelapa Gading in North Jakarta will host the ninth annual Jakarta Fashion and Food Festival, presenting a series of fashion shows by top designers, an Indonesian food fair and other events.
The festival, which runs until May 27, was “initiated to raise our national dignity by presenting Indonesian creative culture in fashion and food to the world,” said Soegianto Nagaria, the event’s chairman.
“We have varied cultural riches,” Soegianto said. “But to bring them to the world, we have to innovate and give them modern touches.”
The festivities kick off on Saturday with a night carnival featuring more than 600 dancers, fashion models and performers. The carnival will open at 6 p.m. with a street parade to celebrate Indonesia’s natural and cultural riches.
The parade will include ondel-ondel (large Betawi puppets) performers, models dressed in handwoven textiles and an 80-meter decorated dragon steered by dancers from West Kalimantan.
The evening will culminate at about 9 p.m., when thousands of firecrackers will light up the Jakarta night.
“More than 150,000 people attended the carnival last year,” Soegianto said.
In keeping with its name, JFFF has organized a series of fashion shows, including some by top-tier Indonesian designers. Both haute couture and ready-to-wear collections will be presented.
Two of the nation’s biggest fashion organizations, the Indonesian Fashion Designers Association (APPMI) and the Indonesian Fashion Designers Council (IPMI), will also present a series of thematic shows.
“Our organization has been supporting JFFF since 2004,” when it first began, said APPMI chairman Taruna K. Kusmayadi. “It was just a small local event at that time. We’re happy to see how it has developed into a major fashion event.”
A show on May 22 has been organized by Cita Tenun Indonesia, an association of traditional textile lovers who will present handwoven fabrics from Lombok, Bali and Sambas in West Kalimantan.
“We’ll show the various weaving techniques of these traditional textiles to Jakarta’s market,” said Meitia Suty, the association’s executive director. “Hopefully, it’ll help them [people in Jakarta] to love and appreciate these handwoven textiles much more.”
Ten senior designers are also gearing up for solo shows, where they’ll feature their latest pret-a-porter collections.
One of them is Musa Widyatmodjo. His show on May 23 will highlight bright and colorful handwoven textiles from the province of East Nusa Tenggara.
“East Nusa Tenggara has amazing natural and cultural riches,” he said. “In the fashion show, I will combine handwoven textiles from 21 districts in the province, turning them into chic and modern outfits for today’s urban women.”
For those who aren’t interested in the catwalk, the festival’s food extravaganza will be another draw, offering Indonesian culinary delights in La Piazza, an al fresco dining area inside the mall.
In a historical throwback, the dining space will be transformed to resemble old Batavia, as Jakarta was known during the colonial era. Semipermanent structures will resemble Museum Fatahillah and Beos train station, old colonial buildings in Central Jakarta.
“Visitors will be able to find and enjoy lots of old Batavian snacks, such as klappertaart [coconut pudding], bitterballen [savory meat-based snack] and poffertjes [Dutch pancakes] during the festival,” Soegianto said.
But old Batavian specialities aren’t the only things on the menu. The feast will include traditional dishes from all over Indonesia, including empal gentong (beef in creamy coconut soup) from Cirebon, West Java; nasi gudeg from Yogyakarta; and kue putu bambu (traditional cake) from Medan.
“I always come to this festival with my family,” said Tinia Budiati, deputy head of the Jakarta Culture and Tourism Office. “We love to eat. And at the festival, we can find many original dishes from all over Indonesia that we cannot normally find in Jakarta.”
For more information about this event, visit: www.jfff.info/