INDONESIAN DESIGNER DIANA PUTRI DREAMT FOR YEARS OF CROSSING THE PACIFIC TO BRING HER MYTHOLOGY FUELED PIECES TO AMERICA. SHE’S ARRIVED!

BY HUNT ETHRIDGE

Launched in 2008, Indonesian designer Diana Putri’s brand inspired by both glamour and regional mythology, quickly became one of the most successful couture labels in Surabaya, capital of the province of East Java and a bustling and style focused city of 3.5 million. Her fan base included Indonesian, Korean, and Chinese celebrities and socialites, who loved that her bespoke garments were everything they couldn’t get even at most high end shops in the area, but Putri hungered for a broader market. Her 2015 debut at New York’s Couture Fashion Week brought just that. Under the label Diana Couture and with a line named Garuda, her designs rolled out in opulent colors and elegant detailing, fueled by what the designer referred to as a “ferocious mythical creature.” The result was a Best Designer Award from the Global Fashion Avenue & Couture Fashion Week New York. We sat with Putri to discuss her process, passions, and new lines.

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How did you get into designing?
As a young girl, I wanted to be a doctor, then went to literature school. After marrying my husband, who owns Varity Textile [in East Java], I got into fashion more and more. One day, I just got tired of shopping for clothes, as none of them suited my style, so I started to experiment, which led to this career.

What fueled your first vision?
My main inspirations are traditional Indonesian outfits and costumes and Victorian gowns. Those combine for wearable, sexy, and powerful couture pieces which can be worn to events like red carpets. So, a mixture of Eastern and Western influences.

How do you get inspired to create?
Apart from those cultural references, I’m inspired by other folklore and powerful female characters. My Srikandi collection had an Indonesian legend of a female archer warrior in mind, while Genisis was inspired by the seven days of creation from the Bible. However, in the end, my main inspiration comes from the woman I dress…a desire to make her feel empowered, beautiful, con dent, and sexy.

Any design dreams the world might not be quite ready for?
Back in the day, I would say fashion in collaboration with technology. However, my collaboration with accessories designer LeCiel Design last October in Art Hearts Fashion LAFW incorporated some high tech mechatronic pieces such as mechanical wings and head pieces, so I would say I’ve ticked that off my bucket list.

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What are you most proud of in your career so far?
Going international. As a small town girl from Indonesia, I never even dreamed about leaving my mark as a fashion designer in a city like LA. It’s wonderful.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Mark Oberlin
HAIR: René Cortez, using Color Wow, Oribe and R & Co hair products
STYLIST: Dion “Bleu” Drake
MAKEUP: Julia Taylor, using Bite Beauty and MAKE UP FOR EVER
MODEL: Sheyla / Elite Model Management LA
Select garments and designer shoes available at CoCo Pari in Red Bank & Deal
www.cocopari.com