Ira kwa was supposed to be a banker. She studied finance at university and her family assumed she would follow them into the wonderful world of numbers. “When I first told my parents my plan to open a store, my mother said no, because she believed there was no future in fashion in Jakarta. In New York or Paris, things would have been different, but she was worried I would never be able to work in my own country,” says Kwa. Luckily for the fashionable women of Indonesia, Kwa proved all the naysayers wrong. Today she’s the owner of Jade Boutique, Jakarta’s most prestigious clothing shop. “I was working for Citibank for two years but I always knew it wasn’t for me, so I left to open the boutique. We started with just jeans but, 14 years later, we have built it into a serious company. Indonesia isn’t as fashion-literate as somewhere like Hong Kong, and most boutiques focus on designer bags and shoes. But I decided to do something different and emphasise clothes over accessories.” The gamble paid off and today her store is a haven for the best-dressed women in the city. To ensure her lines are constantly updated, Kwa travels constantly to all the fashion capitals. But when she’s in Jakarta, she divides her days between trying out new brands in her store—her favourite recent additions include Azzedine Alaïa and Missoni—and looking after her two children. “I love being in the store,” she says. “And I never shop anywhere else—why would I need to?”
This page: Dress by Giambattista Valli; platinum earrings with diamonds, and diamond ring in platinum, both by Tiffany & Co.; Kwa's own bracelet
Opening spread: Dress by Azzedine Alaïa; ring in platinum with sapphire and diamonds by Tiffany & Co.
Group photo: Gown by Roland Mouret; bracelets in platinum with diamonds and fancy intense yellow diamonds, and ring in platinum with diamonds, all by Tiffany & Co.