By Dr Christine Dauber

The spirit engendered by the October Beyond Books event Beauty Beyond Bali was extraordinary. From the moment that Carla van Lunn and her team of fellow fashion industry specialists entered the Brisbane Club, there was an air of anticipation for what was ahead. The President’s Room was taken over by hyer talented friends who had volunteered their skills in hairdressing, styling and makeup to make this evening a spectacular success. The goal for Carla was two pronged: to launch her own batik range “Soul Song” whilst introducing the work of talented Indonesian designer, Wahyu Subiyantoro Soediro. This sense of collaborative support was no more obvious than in the vote of thanks delivered by Brisbane designer Pia du Pradal when she graciously offered to assist Carla in her future endeavours. This was followed by numerous interactive suggestions from enthusiastic members and guests. From Brisbane to Jakarta, the following comments endorse the success of the event.

Impressions of Beauty Beyond Bali

Dr ESally Vickery

The Brisbane Club’s evening, Beauty Beyond Bali, featuring the bespoke Batik clothing of Carla van Lunn, was very enjoyable and Christine and the Beyond Books team are to be congratulated for such an entertaining function.

Carla’s explanation of the production of batik by both tjanting and a cap (copper plate stamp) methods engaged both those who were familiar with batik making and those who weren’t.  Her love of fabric and of creating and sharing interesting designs, coupled with her charming personality and technical expertise made her an incomparable compere of the fashion parade of her new contemporary bespoke Batik clothing. For those who are conversant with the technophilic nature of contemporary Indonesian society, her story of conducting all her business by WhatsApp was an additional treat!

While at first glance partnering with Madurese batik makers might seem surprising, in fact it is sensible. The land in Madura is not suitable for agriculture and therefore the island has become a manufacturing centre for nearby Surabaya. This region has been a sight where there is trading with people from other cultures and countries for centuries. Consequently, the so-called “coastal batik” traditional designs with their vibrant colours reflect European, Persian and Chinese influences. Madurese batik makers have a reputation for being innovative in their approach to their craft.

Carla’s choice of colour is clever, since using royal blue and black with designs in white immediately distances her fabrics from traditional batik cloth usually marketed to tourists. Furthermore, her emphasis on process of batik making, rather than semiotics, makes commercial sense for an Australian market. I wish her every success in her venture.

Lynne Moody (Guest)

Carla van Lunn is a ‘Wunderkind.’ Her expanding exploration into the fashion world was on show at the Brisbane Club for all to see. ‘Beauty Beyond Bali’ exposed us to her talent, passion and her use of batik to create something new in the fashion field. There was an element of surprise abroad! We were impressed by the beautiful clothes, the models and her most interesting talk about her journey to get to where she is ‘now’. She had everyone enthralled. Congratulations to all involved in the enterprise.

Greg Vickery AO 

The recent Beauty Beyond Bali Dinner at the Brisbane Club which featured a brilliant display of modern batik fabrics and wearing apparel reminded my wife Dr ESally Vickery and myself of my 7 years as the Honorary Consul for Indonesia in Queensland which began in 1999.  During that period, we visited Indonesia many times and holidayed in many different parts of the archipelago including Sumatra, Sulawesi, Lombok, Komodo, Krakatau and Flores. As ESally has a keen interest in fabric art we visited many local small factories and private houses where textiles, including batik, were being produced by local people. We were always warmly welcomed wherever we went. Indonesia is a great place to visit and there is so much to see beyond Bali. It is a country whose national motto is “unity through diversity” and that can be readily observed. While it is the largest Moslem country in the world it is mostly a very moderate form of Islam and 10% of the country is Christian and there are many Buddhists and Hindus as well. Remarkably there are national holidays based on all 4 religions and religious toleration is plain for all to see. The great Mosque in Jakarta sits over the road from the city’s main Roman Catholic Cathedral and people of both faiths have for several decades worshiped peaceably side by side. Indonesia readily embraces change as was evident with these very modern and contemporary batik fabric designs at this wonderful club dinner organised so thoughtfully by Dr Christine Dauber.

Carla Van Lunn

The reception at The Brisbane Club was tremendous. Guests included Greg Vickery AO, former Honorary Consul for Indonesia in Queensland, and Brisbane fashion designer and entrepreneur, Pia du Pradal, who both gave closing remarks.

I gave an in-depth presentation about Indonesian batik, and brought the making process to life with videos of the artisans creating the fabric. The fashion presentation was followed by an Indonesian buffet dinner. Special thanks go to Dr Christine Dauber and the Beyond Books Group for inviting us to present at The Club.