Have you ever wondered what the house of an haute-couture designer looks like? Do you know what happens after royalty and socialites wear their gorgeous ball-gowns and refuse to be seen wearing them again? Did you know gold thread and encrusted diamonds are common materials used to dress the rich and famous? If your answer is no to any of these questions you are in for a treat!
A few days ago I was lucky to be able to meet Harry Darsono, Indonesian designer extravagante, fearless artist and a philantropist by heart. Monsieur Darsono, who was born in Surabaya and raised in different parts of Europe has recently transformed his personal abode into a museum. Not only is the house gorgeously designed by him at an architectural level but all the nooks and crannies within it have his special touch whether in the form of a wooden mirror frame or a marble or glass sculpture and naturally the exhibition of his fashion designs.
Mr Darsono himself is the tour guide and perfect raconteur of the history behind every piece being displayed in his home. This extravagant and eclectic home houses all kinds of treasures such as a perfume fountain used by Louis XV himself, a Jewelry encrusted tiara owned by the late Lady Di, the diamond and gold thread dress Queen Sirikit of Thailand wore during her coronation, Opera costumes and a few dresses worn by several Beauty Queens from countries such as Brazil and Ukraine.
There is no empty space in this home and every single piece mounts of history behind it. China, textie, jewelry, you name it. Every artifact has Mr. Darsono’s signature. Since his collection is so vast, Mr. Darsono rotates his creations every six months where a new decade of his work is displayed. We got to see a few pieces from the 70’s and were able to appreciate his genius in his masterpieces.
Harry Darsono doesn’t only open his home but his heart to his visitors. He tells stories about his childhood and how he only sleeps for three hours every night. He makes you feel at home and his word are as delightful as his creations. Harry Potter as he likes to call himself on occasion plays 13 musical instruments and shared a bit of his talent with us. He even allowed us to wear his designs.
I was so awestruck not only by his genius but by his kind heart. The funds he collects from the Museum visits go to the maintenance of his Museum and the support of children he mentors in the arts. He treats all of his visitors like family and is happy to answer any question regarding himself and his gorgeous creations.
The visit is personalized and includes either a light brunch or high-tea with Mr. Darsono. This experience will be a very memorable one and I can say it has marked my time in Jakarta in the most fashionable way!Harry Darsono Museum Jl. Cilandak Tengah 1/71, South Jakarta. Viewings by appointment (tel. 7668553).