Seminyak Beach

The Kebaya – An Indonesian Traditional Dress for Women

By June 20, 2017 No Comments

Photo credit: Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach

There is a certain poise and elegance in a Kebaya, the national dress for Indonesian women. Derived from the Arabic word kaba meaning “clothing”, and introduced to Indonesia via the Portuguese language, the term ‘kebaya’ is an ensemble of a blouse-dress combination, with each piece being totally unique with its own vibrant colours, intricate detailing and embroidery styles.

In the 19th century where distinguishing class and status was important and produced variants of the basic costume, the Kebaya on Java Island were considered to be worn only by royal family, aristocrats and minor nobility, while peasant men and many women walked publicly bare-chested. The Kebaya eventually was adopted by commoners, where everyday Kebaya made of simple materials and secured with simple pin. Difference in Kebaya cloth were more likely to be an outcome of difference in wealth.

In the many years that have passed, Kebaya was identified with typical Indonesia attire and had elevated to the status of national dress for Indonesia women. Most Kebaya are made from a lace brocade or designed of a Batik. This design is made by creating a pattern on the material in wax, which is resistant to the dye that is applied and creates beautiful designs.

Today, Kebaya has become a symbol of Indonesia’s culture history which represents national symbolism and high fashion.

Taking design cues from the textile that is now accessible and desirable for everyday Balinese people, Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach’s interior is awash with colour, patterns and culture of this important fabric.