Stephanie Mee meets designer Arturro Eggo . . . and dreams of Roberto Cavalli.

Arturro, first things first – where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?

I grew up mainly in Jakarta, but from early on we travelled as a family to many parts of the country. I have happy memories of my childhood making friends with other kids from different parts of Indonesia. I will always remember my childhood with great fondness.

When did you first know you wanted to be a fashion designer?

I’ve always been interested in beautiful clothes, and the colours and patterns of beautiful fabrics have always been fascinating to me. Though the interest in fashion was there, I didn’t actually get into it until my adult life. I thought it was just a passing fancy.

Did you go to school for fashion design?

At university I studied economics, but nothing to do with fashion. When I finally decided I wanted to become a designer (or at least to be part of the fashion world), I gained experience with several fashion houses and learned about design and how dresses were put together. So basically I taught myself how to design, although my mother was very instrumental in teaching me how to do beading and other details.

Who are your fashion super heroes and why?

I’m a big fan of Roberto Cavalli. I love how he combines patterns and colours into his dresses. His designs are bold yet feminine, graceful and fluid. I take inspiration from his design and create my own version of it.

Tell us about the first pieces you ever designed. How has your style evolved?

The first dress I designed was an evening gown for my sister. I worked day and night to perfect it. I was so nervous that she wouldn’t like the dress and may not want to wear it, but she loved it and wore it with pride and confidence. She got many compliments from her friends that evening. That was my first pride and joy. With the help of my mother I also designed a kebaya, the traditional Indonesian national dress with all the intricate stitching and beading. So much detailed work went into it, but the more I learned, the more I appreciated the intricacies. I use a lot of this aspect of dress making in my current designs. It gives a more ‘finished’ look and feel to the dress.

Tell us a bit about the ARTURRO brand. How did it come about?

A dear friend in Jakarta always calls me Arturro, and others started calling me that instead of Arthur. So when we were looking for a brand name we decided to use the name.

Who is the ARTURRO brand made for?

The woman who wears my dresses is not a shy wallflower. She’s confident, she knows what she wants, she’s independent, but she’s also very feminine, flirty and sexy.

Where do you get your inspiration from when you are creating new designs?

I’m inspired by life in general, but living in Bali gives me a great source of inspiration. Just look around you. It’s amazing out here … the vegetation, mountains, temples,and people. Even the weather has shapes and colours that inspire me. I take these designs and translate them into motives and patterns, which are then printed onto the fabrics for my dresses.

So here’s the scenario – you’ve just put together the perfect outfit for a night out on the town in Bali. What would that outfit be and where should the wearer go to show it off?

I would say a silk maxi cocktail dress printed in my signature pattern in subdued tropical colours. I’d start the experience with a sunset cocktail at the newly opened Alila Seminyak. Then a nice dinner at Metis restaurant followed by after-dinner digestif at the W Hotel lounge and a barefoot stroll on the beach, perhaps.

Why is Bali such a hot spot for fashion designers?

Bali offers unsurpassed natural beauty. The uniqueness of the culture and tradition of the Balinese people, coupled with their hospitality and warmth makes it a very pleasant place to be. It’s a magnet for all sorts of people from all over the world, which makes it quite a cosmopolitan island. You can casually mix with the rich-and-famous and the adventurers, as people from many different cultures and origins are in Bali. For artists, painters, writers and designers it’s the perfect place to explore and seek out inspiration.

What can we expect to see from ARTURRO in the future?

In the future I’d like to expand my brand so that people in other parts of the country can easily find my designs in the nearest shop. I’d like to make it more accessible to a wider range of customers by producing more ready-to-wear garments without sacrificing the quality. Of course every local designer dreams of making it big on the international stage, but for the time being my priority is to meet the demand of our local customers. Since I personally still supervise every piece of clothing that is sold in our boutique, it requires time and my full attention. Perhaps later on down the road, once I can delegate some of the responsibilities, then I can focus on international expansion.

That being said, at the moment I have orders from Europe and from the Middle East, but in manageable quantity, so I’m still able to fulfil the orders.

Many thanks for your time!