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Who Put the “Boutique” in Batik?

by Susi, 23 July 2008

Quarzia silk batik shirt.

Quarzia did. This boutique-chic little enterprise has been making slinky high art batik fashion in silk for years. Mixing a  Marimekko-meets-Peter-Max eye for pattern with a subtle sense of colour and an acute understanding of cut, their clothes have given gorgeousity to the gorgeous-in-the-know of Bali (mostly Italians) for quite some time. Well last night the well-guarded secret went public. 

Quarzia was a teensy little boite of a shop on the golden mile of Jalan Oberoi in Seminyak, until last week. Proprietors Marco and Simonetta, a design dream team from Bergamo have broken out from the closed circle of cognoscenti in Bali and are ready to take on the world. 

Quarzia batik \

They remodeled and hugely expanded their little shop and now it’s “wow”. Last night was the grand re-opening, and how grand it was, as in grandissimo, as only Bali’s Italian community can manifest. From sunset ’til long after dark the Corso-Como-cruising crowd in attendance at the opening bash sipped Negronis and slinked about in clumps, kissing, ciao-bella-ing and making like it was the day the new collections  came in on Via Montenapoleane.  One Anglo pundit was heard to exclaim, “It’s so Italian I can’t think straight!”  But I think it was the Negronis from the free-flowing streetside bar that befuddled her mind. 

Marco and Simonetta are generous by nature, and they warmly welcomed the SMS-invited crowd to their re-opening. Seen pawing the beautifully bias-cut silk batiks were artist Filipo Sciascia, designer-gallerista Susanna of Biasa, Bona Kaya Gaya the Duchessa of Seminyak, archaeologist-extraordinaire Ambra Calo (the blonde Laura Croft of Indonesia), architect Mauro Garavoglia, and everyone’s favourite warm-hearted perpetual convent-girl, Elisa Grattapaglia. Aside from the usual Italo-Indo suspects we caught up with Sophie Digby of The Yak Magazine, modern marquetier Etienne d’Souza, textile and costume designer Simon Marks and throngs of other drop-dead-gorgeous glamourati-Balinisti.  There were acres of young silken flesh spread on the front steps to compete with Quarzia’s silk batik fashion; it’s the second generation of Italo-Indos, I think, and watch out for them. The only thing missing was Pino Confessa, the viviacious and congenial Honorary Consul of Italy for Bali (who never misses a good party). Perhaps he was busy with an Italian passport-holder tangled up in a messy Vespa crash?

I promise to post photos of the party as soon as Marco and Simonetta sleep off the Negroni hangovers and send me some. (I hope I get the multi-seamed indigo and ecru skirt as a prize for writing this. Although I would have written just as flattering a review skirt or no skirt. And this post is not nearly so flattering as that skirt will be on me!)

(Here are the photos I promised! Plenty of party pix below the cut.)

Marco of Quarzia, friend, painter Made Wianta, friend.

Simonetta of Quarzia, and master marquetier Etienne d\'Sousa.

More hot gossip on the steps. Architect Mauro, Bruno Piazza (sipping Negroni), Bona Kayaga (nose and turban), and yours truly.

The gorgeous Mariella, Bali jewelry designer, celebrates the new Quarzia shop.

The Quarzia staff have a big laugh.

Simonetta of Quarzia with a loyal customer at the opening party.

Hot gossip on the steps. Left to right: Bruno Piazza, Bona Kayagaya, yours truly, friend, archaeologist Ambra Calo (behind).

Love was in the air.

Guests had a hard time choosing their favourite slinky silk batik pieces.

Painter Filippo Sciascia, friend, painter Ugo Untoro, and Marco of Quarzia.

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