Fashion Designer Harry Darsono: Shen Yun Will Lead the World Fashion Trend

April 2, 2012 Updated: April 15, 2012
Indonesian fashion designer Dr. Harry Darsono
Leading Indonesian fashion designer Dr. Harry Darsono attends Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company in Taipei, on March 25. (Li Xianzhen/The Epoch Times)

TAIPEI, Taiwan—Leading Indonesian fashion designer Dr. Harry Darsono equated Shen Yun to “Haute Couture” (French for exclusive custom-fitted handmade garment) of performing arts after he watched Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company in Taipei on March 25.

An accomplished haute couturier himself, Dr. Darsono has gained international recognition dressing stars and socialites, presidents and princesses. Dr. Darsono heard about Shen Yun from his friends in New York and he decided to see Shen Yun in Taipei for his birthday, taking nearly 20 friends along with him.

Shen Yun is ‘Haute Couture’

Dr. Darsono spoke highly of Shen Yun’s attention to detail and likened it to the very exclusive Haute Couture design. “Haute couture means you have to honor, you have to value the work of hands. And this is mastered by a brilliant mechanism of brain system. This is really an expression in arts and science. It is the showmanship of Shen Yun.”

Dr. Darsono uses a lot of silk in his designs. In fact, he wore a “hand-spun, hand-woven and hand-painted” silk shirt to attend the Shen Yun performance. Commenting on Shen Yun’s handmade costumes, Dr. Darsono said: “I could really see the hemming line. They [Shen Yun] use needle work. We call it haute couture. ‘Haute’ means the ultimate and ‘couture’ means the needle work. So this is the ultimate of needle work, hand-needle work. It generates the flow, the feel, and the fall of the fabrics. These are the three F’s of fashion.”

Shen Yun is Genius

Dr. Darsono is also academically active, working as a lecturer in the fields of arts, design, and psychology. He travels extensively in Europe and has lived in Paris and London.

Dr. Darsono has a Ph.D. in Humanistic Philosophy from Oxford, and he could really appreciate Shen Yun’s masterful combination of multiple innovative art forms. “It is not only the ballet [classical Chinese dance], it is not only the music, it is not only the audible, you know, visual and audible items, but this is the unpredictable working system of the mechanism of the brain that humans cannot predict. So, I know that one thing I can elaborate on—this is genius!”

In addition, Dr. Darsono is often involved with stage productions, providing stage designs as well as stage costumes. He said, “Shen Yun is really stunning, the technique of the showmanship consists of many elements, such as the colors and the changing formations. But the most outstanding thing that really caught my eye was the choreography. So many small details, so well arranged, well created by someone who has been observing the ancient Chinese culture.”

“It is the ancient China meeting with the contemporary world and this is the real China. I remember a book called The Genius That Was China. I say now that the genius is China, is Shen Yun.”

As for the stage production, “It not only catches your attention, keeps you awake, but the blend of colors shows the combination of the ancient and contemporary world of the universe. This is Chinese culture!”

Dr. Darsono started counting the art performances he is familiar with and then he said, “This [Shen Yun] is just BEYOND all of those. That’s the concise word.”

Shen Yun Will Set the World’s Fashion Trends

With his acute sense of fashion, Dr. Darsono predicted that Shen Yun will lead the fashion world into a new era. “I’ve lived in Paris for 18 years and also in London and Oxford. I’ve worked with brands like Yves Saint Laurent. As early as the 1970s, many French and Italian fashion designers were influenced by Chinese culture. For example, the head dresses were really inspiring to brands like YSL, Balenciaga and Kenzo.”

Indonesian fashion designer Dr. Harry Darsono
Dr. Darsono heard about Shen Yun from his friends in New York and he decided to see Shen Yun in Taipei for his birthday, taking nearly 20 friends along with him. The photo is taken outside of National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall on March 25. (Lin Bodong/The Epoch Times)

Dr. Darsono believes that Shen Yun’s costume design is ancient Chinese culture with a contemporary touch and will inspire many more designers around the world.

“Oh yes, also the layers of the skirts, and there is a pair of long pants underneath the skirts, so layers after layers … is very inspiring,” Dr. Darsono added. “And the color scheme, starting from the very early spring or late winter, to the summer vibrant colors—they are very much inspiring to the fashion world.” 

Reporting by Li Yuan & Sophia Fang

Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform in seven cities in Taiwan until April 8 and then continue to top venues in Australia and New Zealand.

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