By Anna Ludmirsky,
Born in Indonesia, Kurniawan Welly is a designer who created incredibly stylish high fashion garments most notably in the 80’s. These full gowns incorporate beautiful detail in every crevice of the piece from the bustier to the petticoat. Though Welly’s garments seem very outlandish and over-the-top nowadays, during that period of time, his target market of the affluent mature woman looking for a special occasion garment was exactly the glamour needed for that specific niche of women. Furthermore, focusing on the type of woman he was designing for, he looked towards guaranteeing high-quality textiles meshing with a simple, yet classic design to ensure his garments would get repeated use out of them rather than a one-time-use dress.
Welly incorporated many intricate details in various forms while creating his garments. These include sewing shreds of distressed fabric onto a bolero, a jacket that is worn on top of an elegant see-through lace dress which falls into a train when hitting the floor. Generally, with Welly every suit or dress he would create is individual and unique to each customer’s needs and wants; exploring several textures, combinations of colour, and silhouettes. However, the use of bows remained consistent throughout his career in the 80’s, a popular fashion statement during that era of fashion.
In addition to the lovely array of colours Welly utilized, he created this black, floor-length gown made of a soft velvet fabric with gold adornments and details. This gown includes a detachable belted bow that extends into a lengthy train that gracefully drapes along the floor. The open-back paired with padded shoulders and large bow allows for a dramatic silhouette that accentuates the female figure.
A baby pink short-length sporting a puffy skirt which gathers around the waist, a ruched midriff, and a strapless sweetheart neckline adorned with sequins, mesh, and various fabric pieces to replicate the shapes of floras. The petticoat underneath the skirt is a high-low style, the front perfectly hides underneath the skirt and the back is floor length. The cut of the petticoat reveals the surprise details of white and pink feathers integrated within the multiple layers of tulle
A two-piece full length balck gown with off-the-shoulder lantern sleeves. The top of the garment is adorned with black flower beads. The neckline is subtle to accentuate the shoulders.
Gorgeous Welly details:
In the header photograph, Welly is pictured with a model sporting his garment that we have in the Seneca Fashion Resource Centre.
Slaughter, Mike. “Welly’s Fashions.” Digital Archive, Toronto Star, 1 Aug. 1985, https://digitalarchive.tpl.ca/objects/207512. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.
Alongside Welly, couturiers such as Hasmig Possian, Arpi Kunugus, Demetrios Galanopoulos, and Maggy Reeves created the Couture Association of Toronto, in which they spread the message about what it truly takes to be in their line of work. The Couture Association of Toronto spoke around the issues regarding the misinformation surrounding the industry, and what it means to create an expensive, high fashion garment from scratch. The innate reasoning for the retaliation from the makeup of designers was from the misrepresentation of couturiers in the industry causing loss of business from each designer in the area.
Welly Couture photographs: Dale Peers @2021
Marlene Habib, Canadian P. “Group Aims to Boost Haute Couture `I can’t Tell You how Many People
Think Couturiers are just Dressmakers’: [Final Edition].” Toronto Star, Mar 13 1997, ProQuest.
Web. 11 Oct. 2021
Nancy Hastings Star, fashion w. “A Guide to Toronto’s Talented Couturiers.” Toronto Star, Nov 26
1987, ProQuest. Web. 11 Oct. 2021 .
Slaughter, Mike. “Welly’s Fashions.” Digital Archive, Toronto Star, 1 Aug. 1985,
https://digitalarchive.tpl.ca/objects/207512. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.
The Toronto Star. (1982). Couturiers of Canada. Hasmig Designs. Retrieved October 11, 2021.