As Water type of woman with a cool type skin, I will look good in wearing cool color clothing, little contrast in color and also dusty color clothing.
But Indonesian Traditional costume kebaya usually comes in strong contrast, bright color or earth tone color which is not my best color to wear. Another challenge is kebaya usually wear with kain batik or sarong. And For my event in Cronulla beach Sydney, wearing sarong gonna be a bit difficult to walk. :). So I custom made and design my own kebaya with subdue color and mermaid style skirt.
History of Kebaya
There is much speculation as to where the kebaya could have originated from. There are some who say that the kebaya originated in the Middle East, while others argue that it may have come from nearby China. Derived from the Arabic word kaba meaning “clothing” and introduced to Indonesia via the Portuguese language, the term kebaya has come to refer to a garment whose origins appear to be a blouse
Many sources also cite Chinese influences on clothing of the time, one source comparing the kebaya to an open-fronted long-sleeved tunic worn by women of the Ming Dynasty. The introduction of this kind of dress were accredited to two major occurrences of this time; the emerging influence of Islam and the arrival of the Europeans to the archipelago. Whether it was Arabia or China that brought us the wonderful kebaya, there is no denying how quick the use of this garment was made uniquely Indonesian and spread from one island and ethnic group to another which its own regional variations. This quick diffusion of the use of the kebaya was also linked to the spice trade that was happening during this time in history.
Many of the easily recognizable features of today’s kebaya – a tight fitting blouse that enhances the torso of the woman; the fold-back collarless neck and front opening; long sleeves; and the type of semi-transparent fabric – are evident in the kebaya of the past century. Traditional kebaya required the torso of the women to be wrapped with a long piece of cloth called a stagen. Women of higher social status would have help in wrapping their torso with the stagen however women who were not so fortunate to have help could dress themselves by tying the end of the stagen to a post and literally wrapping themselves into it.
If we try to define what a kebaya is, it may prove to be difficult as it is constantly changing to reflect the changing times and fashions that Indonesia is experiencing. Nonetheless, it is possible to make some generalizations about the kebaya. Most Kebaya are made from a lace brocade. Most kebaya fabric uses a floral motif either printed or woven into the textile and its length can fall somewhere from above the waist to below the knee. It usually, but not always, has long sleeves. It is usually fastened at the front, and if not, then gives a semblance of doing so. Some variations of the kebaya will use a batik sash, which is coordinated with the kain, draped over the shoulder as an added accessory.
Although women in the market can be seen wearing kebaya, we can also see exquisite variations of them in government gatherings and parties and high society social functions. The beauty of this national dress is undeniable. Some of the most influential women in Indonesia are married in kebaya that can be described as “works of art” with their hand embroidered detailing and beading. Designers such as Ane Avanti, Raden Sirait have helped to promote the kebaya not only as a important part of Indonesian clothing history but as a very beautiful item of clothing that Indonesian women are proud to wear.
So the next time you see a women wearing a kebaya you will understand that she is not just wearing a functional piece of clothing but she is also wearing a symbol of Indoneia’s cultural history which represents national symbolism and high fashion too!