01/08/18

The Seduction of Silk: The 10 Bali designers reinventing the softer side of fashion

Silk remains one of fashion’s most seductive materials. Flattering and flowing like no other, it's natural beauty and softness allows it to elevate entire pieces. Whether combined with other fabrics or used alone, it requires a deft designers’ touch to bring out its unique quality.

Silk has been an essential component of Balinese culture and style for centuries. Indonesia was introduced to the luxury commodity in ancient times through land and sea trade routes with China and India. Although the country isn’t a competitive silk producer, it’s various islands maintain the ideal environmental conditions for producing the highest-quality silk textiles. The high sunlight intensity, abundance of land, and variety of silk moth species make the fabrics created by small-scale silk manufacturers in Bali, although few exist, some of the finest in the world.

The following Bali-based designers take advantage of the exquisite, local materials made available to them to create unique pieces that add an element of timeless glamour to your wardrobe. This ultra-lightweight fabric is hypoallergenic, easy to care for, and known to regulate body temperature which any Bali local knows is essential for a stay on the island.

Each of these top Bali fashion brands combine the finest materials with expert craftsmanship and a distinct creative approach to create silk pieces for every season and style. 

Olga Laurus

For floral dresses and scarves that boast originality and femininity, look no further than Olga Laurus’ exclusive seasonal lines. This Bali fashion designer draws inspiration from her experiences on the magic island. What sets her work apart are the unique intricacies of each colorful pattern and the unique, labor-intensive process used to create each garment. In her collections, designer Olga Lavrinenko utilizes Hot Batik, an ancient Indonesian technique consisting of skillfully tracing the elaborate illustration lines on the silk with hot wax and eventually removing the wax after the design has been hand-painted. Stunning floral patterns are cut from Songket fabrics that are manually woven in Bali with gold and silver threads, and layered with handcrafted silk. This adds another element of complexity and beauty to each design. We love that Olga doesn’t shy away from bright colors. Her latest designs feature Hot-Batik printed floral scarves and long tailored dresses with bright and bold patterns inspired by the flowers and culture of Bali. Ever so versatile, these silk dresses can be worn with heels for a chic evening out or dressed down with flats for a more casual, but endlessly sophisticated daytime look.

The Seduction of Silk: The Bali designers reinventing the softer side of fashion

Lily Jean

For easy and classy fashion with an edgy twist, Lily Jean is one of Bali’s enduring fashion stories. Creative director Made de Coney started this day-to-evening-wear brand in Bali 2004 drawing from her multicultural background and upbringing. Her use of silk is where the designer is able to achieve a sublime combination of comfortable and easy designs with a touch of elegance. Her silk designs combine simplicity and sensuality. Together with an emphasis on detail and high-quality fabrics, the use of silk helps to elevate her pieces into luxurious, stylish designs that range from streetwear to cocktail glamour. The Caravan Silk Mini Shorts are cool, casual, and a super versatile addition to your wardrobe. The deep side pockets and elastic waistband make them practical and easy to change up how you work them. Another favorite is the sweet light green Cargo Pants. These baggy bottoms are made with viscose but the silk detailing brings them alive. But the best use of silk in her collection belongs to the Silk Wrap Pants. Gorgeous high side splits, a butterfly overlap that can be worn to the front or the back and a silk draw string to make a beautiful bow, this is the ultimate day-to-evening piece that can be worn with flats or some sexy heels for a night out.

The Seduction of Silk: The Bali designers reinventing the softer side of fashion


Lulu Yasmine

The bohemian spirited collections at Lulu Yasmine showcase the elegance of silk chiffon and its ability to add softness and texture to her designs. In the Amalfi Collection, there are a few standout silk chiffon designs that we can’t stop ogling. The Cielo Embellished Top and Skirt skillfully combine silk chiffon and handcrafted rose gold beading in a set that couldn’t be more playful. Equally as fun, the Bellezza Lace Dress is one of the more glam pieces in the collection with its cascading ruffles and lace detailing. This adorable mini dress combines silk chiffon and viscose crepe fabric to achieve its desired texture and look. With a draping technique that adds a loose and flowing element, the collections capture the bohemian feel with pieces equally versatile as day and night wear. The Cantik Dress in Lulu Yasmine's latest collection- Dreamland- is another delicious creation showcasing a deer print on silk satin. 

Seduction of Silk

Magali Pascal

French fashion designer Magali Pascal combines French elegance with effortless style in her luxurious silk and lace pieces. Using only organic silks and laces, Magali creates chic pieces that effortlessly exude feminism and timeless style. Her latest earthy toned collection, Le Sud, includes classic slip dresses made of stretch silk with lace detailing. These simple silhouettes come in a variety of colors with each item featuring a creative design element that amps up the style of the design whether it be a front knot with a key hole, or a side slit. While both silk and lace are materials that can form the basis for entire collections on their own, their synergy in Magali Pascal’s collections are superbly elegant. These seemingly basic pieces stand on their own due to their sheer beauty.

The Seduction of Silk: The Bali designers reinventing the softer side of fashion

Milk and Roses Boutique

Milk and roses Boutique is the perfect stop for elegant and romantic bohemian looks that can be worn day into night. With a touch of French retro chic, Milk and Roses Boutique is a must for anyone looking to find the perfect silk addition, whether it be a classy blouse or a tropical printed dress, to complement their wardrobe. Not afraid to use a variety of materials from denim, to sequins and cotton lace, the brands’ use of crepe fabric and silk chiffon is where they are really able to achieve a bohemian look that is casual yet refined. The rough, crinkled texture and granular appearance of the chiffon combined with bold colors and flowy silhouettes are a match made in heaven. What we like about the brand is how easy it is to incorporate their pieces in a daytime or nighttime look. You might pair one of their camisole silk tank tops with jeans and sleek sneakers or mix it up with some heels for some real sass. Their mini dresses look equally classy as part of a day-time casual look or glammed up as a nighttime showstopper. What is there not to love. 

The Seduction of Silk: The Bali designers reinventing the softer side of fashion

Uma and Leopold

For a unique statement piece with exquisite detail, Uma and Leopold will not disappoint. The brainchild of Brazilian designer Lara Braga, this brand has taken over the Bali fashion scene with its one of a kind handcrafted creations. Her latest collections are filled with simple but stylish shapes, retro and floral patterns, and timeless silks. What makes this brand so remarkable is how elaborate handicraft techniques like Kerawang, embroidery, and hand beading are used to give classic pieces a contemporary twist. Kerawang is a traditional art that consists of first putting the design that is to be embroidered, whether it be a floral pattern or hand-drawn motif, in a block graph on paper. The elaborate process then includes delicately removing layers of thread from the base fabric until there is space for the designs to be embroidered. Everything at Uma and Leopold, including the high-quality silk chiffon and satin used in design and these intricate details, is handmade by talented local artisans.In addition to edgy embroidered tanks and mini dresses with cross back details, Uma and Leopold’s newest silk designs are all about ruffles. Find flouncy silk wrap ruffle dresses with beautiful floral patterns in their newest arrivals. Everything you need for the perfect summer look.

The Seduction of Silk: The Bali designers reinventing the softer side of fashion

Palma Australia

It’s no surprise that the fun and flowy summer dresses and looks by Palma Australia are inspired by the beauty and lifestyle in Bali. Founder Natalie Alexander draws inspiration from the carefree but rich Balinese culture resulting in the perfect playful dress or jumpsuit for your beach getaway. The feminine pieces in Palma’s newest collection, Softly Spoken, achieve a luxurious look and feel through the use of elegant flattering cuts, details and materials. In this new line, the selection of off white "Wild Flower” dresses and blouses are crafted with 100% embroidered silk or a combination of silk and rayon. The use of silk together with exquisite detailing shows an attention to detail which is a joy. Whether it be the maxi dress with an A-line skirt and gorgeous lace trim, the mini dress with an adorable ruffle skirt bottom, or the edgier handkerchief dress with its varying lengths in the center and sides, these pieces embody the breezy summer vibe Palma is all about.

The Seduction of Silk: The Bali designers reinventing the softer side of fashion

Sabia

This clothing brand from Bali was created by Brazilian designer Claudia Duarte. Her 100% silk dresses are so simply elegant and graceful that it is truly hard to stop admiring them. The beauty in her pieces is in its simplicity and the graceful use of fabrics that effortlessly flatter the female silhouette. The label consists of collections made with entirely organic fabrics and an organic color process. Her newest collection screams summer. Beautiful patterned silk midi dresses with exposed cross back detailing and loose chest silhouettes have a sensual effect, while the selection of mini printed wrap dresses have a more casual vibe. The stunning, fully see-through silk maxi dresses come in the sweetest, colorful summer hues and could be worn with a slip underneath or as a cover up at the beach. Versatile and sensual, what is there not to love.

The Seduction of Silk: The Bali designers reinventing the softer side of fashion

Natasha

Owner and designer Natasha Welsh launched this established boutique brand in Australia in 2005 to encapsulate her own free spirited, bohemian style. The immediate success of her footwear, accessories, and handmade dresses has led to Natasha becoming a favorite of free-spirited bohemian fashion lovers. She draws inspiration from the creative energy of the Balinese people and the natural beauty of the island while working closely on every aspect of the design and production process. Fine silks and embroidery are the basis for many of her playful, vintage-inspired creations. These beautiful handcrafted clothes were designed for the wild and wanderlust. Her High Summer 2018 collection is filled with hand embroidered silk maxi gowns and dresses. Each design is completely unique with lace inserts, beautiful beading and embroidery, and playful exposed back or chest areas. Another strong collection from this designer who continues to reinvent summer wear in our own unique vision.

The Seduction of Silk: The Bali designers reinventing the softer side of fashion

Little Joe Woman

Little Joe Woman is the brainchild of creative director Gail Elliot who is no stranger to mixing and maxing various materials to achieve her own unique brand of luxurious yet edgy island attire. The use of silks especially help to highlight her fashion and lingerie collections. As a former supermodel who worked with top photographers and designers in the industry, Gail and her husband Joe Coffey founded the brand in New York City in 2002 with a debut line of six vintage-inspired silk slip dresses and camisoles in different colors. Fast forward to the brand’s current selection of timeless silk camisoles and slips, which are breathtaking, Little Joe Woman’s current collection of silk masterpieces are a bit more formal than most of the silk designers we have discussed here. Mini and Midi dresses fill the racks at its Bali locations with asymmetrical hemlines and ruffles. What we like about these pieces are that they are elegant, but wearable. Little Joe Woman makes it easy to add some grace and style to your wardrobe with its thoughtful designs. In many cases, the beauty is in the details— don’t miss the lace detailing, sheer inserts, and off-the-shoulder looks. Create an all silk look by pairing their Have A Heart Pant with a silk camisole, you’ll thank us later.

The Seduction of Silk: The Bali designers reinventing the softer side of fashion

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