Dream Weavers: Sebastian Gunawan with Rosalindynata Gunawan Bakrie
In an era of instant gratification, is there anything more luxurious than having outfits painstakingly constructed to your exact specifications? Eight of Asia’s top bespoke designers—and their muses—prove that some things are worth the wait
“First of all, you have to know that Sebastian Gunawan is not only me,” the designer says at our shoot. “My wife, Cristina Panarese, and I are a duo in business, too.” The couple met in Milan when attending the same school and worked at several labels before starting their own line under Gunawan’s name in 1992. Since then, the label has grown to include four brands across ready-to-wear and bespoke. Panarese’s focus is on the ready-to-wear lines, while Gunawan devotes more of his time to the business of bespoke.
“When I was young, I didn’t know what fashion meant; I was just interested in watching people dress and do their make-up,” Gunawan says. But by high school he was working with a seamstress and designing costumes for events and birthday parties. Today, Gunawan is recognised as the Best Couture House in Indonesia by the Asian Couture Federation, and has built a loyal clientele around the region. Dramatic silhouettes, exquisite embroidery and larger-than-life proportions—these are just a few of the traits of the duo’s creations.
“We always come out with something feminine,” Gunawan says. “We try to make our clothes not just
elegant but fun”—which is why he selected his niece, Rosalindynata Gunawan-Bakrie (Ling, for short), to be photographed with him. She personifies his playful yet chic sensibility. “Ling has an allure and she likes to experiment with her looks,” Gunawan says. “Even though she’s petite, she’s able to pull off a lot of things because she has that charm. She can look good in any attire, be it classic, avantgarde, casual or sporty.”
Source: Emeralda, Edith, “The Good Life”, Tatler Indonesia, November Issue, 2019