Written and Photographed by Julio Cortez
Edited by Jane Yu
This one’s for the ladies who like a little bit of nostalgia in their wardrobe, with New York’s Radenroro reviving those childhood ballerina dreams and unicorn wishes in a completely wearable, sexy tomboy, non-Lisa Franks kind of way.
The glass door displaying the Radenroro logo, the namesake depiction of an Indonesian princess, leads into a square room with two long windows overlooking a string of fabric stores down below. Radenroro headquarters are located on the 9th floor of a high rise overlooking New York’s Garment District, a very short stroll away from Bryant Park.
The building’s windows are a little muggy, but the warmth of the day’s 75 degree weather shines through into the quaint showroom. The Spring 2012 Collection is placed along the wall to the right as soon as you enter the space, which also celebrates its one year anniversary this month.
An abstract multicolor unicorn print stands out in the lineup of bright hues for this collection. Designer Liquica Anggraini created the signature print with her background in graphic design, one of multiple attempts - along with multimedia, programming , and animation - at figuring out what she wanted to do with herself after coming to New York around ten years ago from Indonesia.
Although designing became her third field of study, the love of the craft comes from Anggraini’s childhood revival of retro fashions.
The designer says that while she was growing up, her mom was obsessed with the fabric store. Liquica didn’t mind tagging along to hunt down hidden treasure in the form of vintage fabric from the 1970s. “A lot of people didn’t understand it,” says Anggraini of the vintage goods buried in secret shops. "They thought it was old, disgusting, and moldy, but when I would make clothes with these amazing prints, they would quickly ask me where I got them.”
“In Indonesia, it’s normal for people to get their clothing tailor-made, or even make their own at home,” says the designer. She also cites that there are more options and freedom in places like New York for customizing clothing, finding variations in ready-to-wear pieces along with the mass availability of vintage references.
The Radenroro collection is largely based on the celebration of traditional femininity through spring’s details such as kitten collars, delicate leather scalloping, and silk pin tucks. The tailoring is also as on point as the vibrant color palette. “New Yorkers pay attention to different structural details and they mix different trends,” says Anggraini of the city’s modern style. The ready- to-wear line gives nod to those feisty fabric finds from the 70s and the neon-boudoir trends of today since its launch in 2008, a triumph after that pesky trial and error process with her husband.
“I usually don’t theme or force my ideas, but some designers work like that,” says the FIT alumni of her creative process, so if she’s inspired, she makes it the way she envisions it. “If it ends up looking like a holiday look,” she says, “it’s fine because sequins should be okay year round.”
The Spring 2012 presentation took place in the Radenroro showroom where select guests and bloggers were invited to play with the feminine frocks--entirely produced in New York--in hopes of being picked up by more buyers. But for now, having an account with fans like Nordstrom and various boutiques worldwide isn’t that bad of a start for a ready-to-wear designer who began her adventure in fashion with a degree in Psychology.
Five handbag samples are stacked in a row like dominoes atop a white lacquered console table on the left side of the room. It’s not the silhouette that captures the eye but the texture of the individual stingrays that some of the bags are made of. Leather and suede trimmings, chained straps, heavy duty hardware, and cylinder-cone stud embellishments make these handbags an impressive addition to fans of exotic ready-to-wear pieces. “It’s like a workout bag,” the designer jokes, lifting a stamped steel grey bag with punk inspired elements - an ASTONISH wishlist must.
To the right of the bags, Liquica’s desk floats in a pristine corner adorned with a small baroque mirror and an abstract statue of a ballerina designed by her brother-in-law, with a white Mac Book trickling out a playlist of Crystal Castles, Gotye, and Robyn. Anggraini’s window view looks onto the city streets where inspiration strikes.
“I notice a lot of mixing here,” says Anggraini of New York's street style, effortlessly sporting a sheer, fluorescent green tee and a navy pencil skirt with tan paneling from her own collection, along with sand-colored heeled sandals. She throws on an over-sized varsity jacket with aviator details in an evergreen wool from Radenroro Fall 2012. She’s swimming in wool while the jacket’s belts dangle around the contrasting panels of her skirt, embodying the collection’s theme around tomboy ballerinas.
"Street style" became an entirely different concept of inspiration when Anggraini was visiting Los Angeles for a Nordstrom trade show “I was walking and this homeless guy was wearing baggy pants with suspenders, but from behind I noticed an interesting silhouette,” says the designer, pointing out the fastening straps and boxy cut of the inspired product - the Elmi silk dress in the Forest Unicorn print, $167.
“I hate boring and costume [styles] when it comes to fashion, but clothing still has to be wearable,” says the designer. “I hang out with a lot of Japanese people that influence me,” she says, noting their adventurous personal attire when it comes to fearless dressing. And much like Radenroro, it all comes down to mixing and matching from your surroundings to compliment your own body and mind. “You just have to be confident,” says Anggraini while looking every bit the picture of success. “It’s okay to dress like this.”