Indonesia’s leading Muslim fashion designer jailed for fraud

Indonesian fashion designer Anniesa Hasibuan takes a final walk on the runway for the Anniesa Hasibuan collection during the New York Fashion Week in February last year. (AFP)
Updated 30 May 2018

Indonesia’s leading Muslim fashion designer jailed for fraud

JAKARTA: An Indonesian fashion designer who shot to global fame with her Muslim-themed collection was sentenced to 18 years in prison Wednesday for a multi-million dollar fraud and money-laundering.
A court near Jakarta convicted Anniesa Hasibuan, 31, and her husband of cheating customers who booked pilgrimage trips to Islam’s holiest city Makkah through a travel agency they operated.
The pair were accused of bilking thousands of clients out of at least 848 billion rupiah ($60 million), a steep fall from grace for Hasibuan who had become a household name in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country.
In 2016 Hasibuan’s collection was shown at New York Fashion Week where all her runway models wore hijab head scarves and Muslim-inspired designs, a first for the prestigious event.
Hasibuan and her husband Andika Surachman established Jakarta-based First Travel in 2009 to operate trips to Saudi Arabia. But it had not sent any clients to Makkah since early last year despite being paid for them, the court heard.
The court fined Hasibuan 10 billion rupiah and sentenced her spouse to 20 years in prison. He was slapped with the same fine.
Prosecutors had demanded 20-year prison terms for both.
“(The defendants) have been proven legally and convincingly guilty of committing a criminal act together,” said presiding judge Sobandi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
Hasibuan’s works have also been featured at shows in London, Istanbul and Cannes, but New York Fashion Week cemented her status as a rising star in the fashion world.
She is also well-known for her lavish lifestyle, regularly posting pictures of herself and her husband traveling abroad and wearing expensive clothing.


Nicole Scherzinger wows in Georges Chakra design

Updated 24 November 2020

Nicole Scherzinger wows in Georges Chakra design

DUBAI: Singer and television show host Nicole Scherzinger was spotted wearing a design from our neck of the woods this week to promote the hit show “The Masked Singer.”

The “Don’t Cha” hitmaker, who serves as a judge on the show alongside singer Robin Thicke, comedian Ken Jeong and model Jenna McCarthy, wowed viewers with a white, statement-making Georges Chakra pant suit from the Lebanese designer’s Spring 2019 couture collection.

The look boasted a plunging blazer with metallic details on the shoulders and sleeves and a cascading train. She paired the top with coordinating white, flared trousers. Scherzinger  elevated the look with a dusting of metallic, eye-popping powder across her lids to compliment her ensemble.

Chakra is one of Lebanon’s top couture designers. His gowns have graced runways in Paris and red carpets in Hollywood, while the entertainment industry’s top talent like Gabrielle Union, Jennifer Lopez and Letitia Wright regularly don his creations.  His designs have even been featured in films and television shows like “Gossip Girl” – Blake Lively’s character Serena van der Woodsen tied the knot in a dramatic strapless tulle gown designed Chakra in the show’s series finale. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Aug.4 Beirut explosion, Chakra didn’t unveil his Fall 2021 couture collection during the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode’s official Haute Couture week this year, but presented it in a digital format instead.

Much like his previous collections, the Fall 2021 couture offering was an amalgamation of expert tailoring, volume, ruffles, traces of lamé and rich fabrics such as lace, velour de soie, silk organza and gazar.

Meanwhile, Scherzinger isn’t the only A-lister to champion the Lebanese couturier in recent weeks. 

Model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen was recently spotted wearing an all-white ensemble at a Pennsylvania rally for president-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris’ election campaign where her husband John Legend was performing. 

The look featured a tailored Chloe blazer worn over a bodysuit paired with a tulle tiered skirt from Chakra’s Fall 2020 couture collection. 

The designer’s creations also found a fan in British actress Kate Beckinsale, who recently attended this year’s Monte Carlo Gala for Planetary Health in Monaco wearing a white, asymmetric gown, which was plucked from the designer’s Fall 2019 couture collection.