Can you tell us more about yourself and how did you become interested in making accessories?
Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, I traveled the world and studied extensively in London, England, providing me with a set of global philosophies that influence my creations. I define my designs as a cross between Victorian glamour and Javanese Keraton. I also draw inspiration from wildlife, insects, and nature, turning the world around me into one-of-a-kind, dazzling pieces of wearable art.
Launching me into the fashion world, contemporary kebaya designer Anne Avantie and I collaborated to create the Miss Universe National Costume for Nadine Chandrawinata, the 2005 Indonesian Miss Universe competitor. A team of silversmiths was able to create a winning combination of crown, scepter, earrings, and brooch, despite having to move locations to a survivor camp due to the major earthquake that struck Jogjakarta in May 2006. The hard work paid off as Indonesia's National Costume took second place in the Miss Universe 2006 National Costume competition in Los Angeles, California. Even since then, I have been creating accessories.
Alston Stephanus Accessories is a luxurious brand of finely crafted jewelry that pushes the conceptual boundaries of design. Establishing the company in 2005, I began using nothing but the highest quality of Swarovski crystals, rare stones, beads, French lace, feathers, brass, and silver to carefully hand make all my accessories and set me apart from other designers.
Over the years, my collections have encompassed striking necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings, but have also included distinct brooches, fans, cigarette pipes, and specialty headpieces. Accessories range from the ornate wearable designs to avant-garde runway fashions.
How did you come up with the design of the crown? What was the inspiration for the design?
When designing the Miss Earth Indonesia crown, I drew inspiration from the Earth, as it is the foundational source of all life. Our world and our universe are still very mysterious and full of secrecy. There are many stories from mythical and traditional beliefs that involve the earth and how it came to be, but one in particular spoke to me.
I had once heard of a mythical story where a turtle is believed to have carried the Earth on top of its shell. The turtle was describe as a giant and was called the "World Turtle". Furthermore, the turtle is a popular symbol for longevity because of the protective shell. A turtle can also be a symbol of protection and welfare. Many cultures still believe that the turtle is an animal that carries the world on its shell or is a supporting structure for the Heavens.
The turtle element is applied to the front of the Miss Earth Indonesia crown, because the turtle is the one who carries the world on its back. The shape on the front of the crown resembles the turtle shell, which symbolizes protection and support for the winner of Miss Earth Indonesia. On the sides of the crown there are various motifs representing farmlands, being that many Indonesians have their livelihood in agriculture and farming. The end of the crown is made to resemble traditional fishing boats, symbolizing Indonesia’s maritime culture.
The Miss Earth Indonesia crown is made from 100% sterling silver and is 23 centimeters high, weighting in at 900 grams. The crown also has 2,200 pieces of cubic zirconia and 98 pieces of Swarovski crystal. The finishing gold chrome of the crown represents the wealth of Indonesian culture and natural resources.
When did you start working on the Miss Earth Indonesia crown with El John pageants?
I began working with El John pageants when I was given the privilege of designing the crown for the 2013 Miss Earth Indonesia pageant. I also collaborated with formalwear fashion designer Rusly Tjohnardi Atelier to create the best National Costume in Asia for the Miss Earth 2013 pageant worn by Nita Sofiani, Miss Earth Indonesia 2013. I am happy to say that Alston Stephanus Accessories is now the official Miss Earth Indonesia pageant crown designer as well as the accessories designer for the visiting Miss Earth International.
What do you love most about the Miss Earth Indonesia crown?
The fact that I was able to incorporate the golden color of South East Asia, makes this crown different from others in the pageant world. I am honored to have received this opportunity and I am proud that the crown, being one single structure, can represent the whole of Indonesian culture.