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Splendours in silk

Top Asian designers join French couturier Christophe Josse in a celebration of Thai silk.

Publication Date : 04-10-2012


Celebrated all over the world for its breathtaking beauty, Thai silk once again stunned with its splendour on the couture fashion runway last weekend in a fashion show that marked both Her Majesty the Queen's 80th birthday and her dedication to preserving and promoting traditional Thai textiles.

Held as part of Siam Paragon International Couture Fashion Week at Royal Paragon Hall and organised by the Culture Ministry in collaboration with Siam Paragon and Fide Multimedia from Singapore, "The Queen of Thai Silk" featured a special collection of Thai silk couture of 27 outfits by seven top designers: French haute couturier Christophe Josse, Japanese designer Yumi Katsura, Singapore's Frederick Lee, Lie Sang Bong from South Korea and Thai fashion houses Flynow by Chamnan Pakdeesuk, Theatre by Sirichai Daharanond and Nagara by Nagara Sambandaraksa.

Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn presided over the opening show, which began with a visual retrospective of Her Majesty's visits to the rural areas and discovery of the country's exquisite textile heritage, portraits of Her Majesty dressed in refined Thai silk, and the preservation and promotion of the nation's art and culture.

Japanese couturier, Katsura, still very active at 81, opened the shows with her "Thai Silk Fantasy" collection, presenting modified and contemporary kimono-style evening gowns in light blue Mudmee silk. There were gasps of surprise as the models detached their long skirts, revealing lovely mini dresses with peplum detail at hip-length. Other Japanese details were reflected in the kimono collar, obi sash and origami rose made of a single piece of fabric as well as a headpiece made of Mizuhiki, the decorative Japanese cord made from twisted paper.

Katsura says she considers Thai silk an elegant textile and first used it in her collection almost 30 years ago. This time, she felt really honoured to present her special creations as a present for Her Majesty the Queen.

Up next on the catwalk were Sirichai's beautiful Mudmee silk evening dresses inspired by the Queen's own wardrobe. The gowns featured delicate embroidery, a signature of the Theatre label, and shimmered in pink, light green, azure and purple. They were incorporated with feathers and laces, with drapes and pleats doing away with the need to cut the fabric.

The years may have passed, he says, but Her Majesty's outfits on display at the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles are still modern, lavishly elegant and refined.

World acclaimed designer from South Korea, Bong rushed off to Paris Fashion Week immediately after presenting his classic dresses at Siam Paragon International Couture Fashion Week. His designs featured one of the most refined Mudmee silks in the beautiful tones of turquoise blue, orange-pink, and fresh light green. His talent lies in the art of draping with patterns that produce unique shapes, volume, and structural silhouettes with fine tailoring. The dresses were accentuated with painted acrylic films of butterflies as decorative details.

Chamnan of Flynow took over the catwalk with a striking collection of Mudmee silk in brown to indigo blue. Five models showed their perfect silhouettes in blazer pencil skirts, tank top and trousers. The outfits accentuated the hourglass body shape and offered details that exaggerated all the curves of the female figure.

Lee, the avant-garde designer from Singapore, presented a collection of dramatic blue and green Mudmee silk costumes with the bias-cut technique accentuating the female figure. The designs were infused with ethnic inspirations and created a contemporary tribal look using Thai silk. Exotic feathers were superbly executed with Lee's embroideries.

As ever, Nagara's special collection didn't disappoint. He enhanced his signature dressmaking charms with different kinds of silk from Mudmee to Praewa and Khid as well as plain silk, in orange and beige. The colourful tribal hand-woven and hand-embroidered textiles were impressively reinterpreted into modern simple tube dresses, giving a sense of contemporary and modern design.

The "Queen of Thai Silk" fashion show ended with the show all front-row fashionistas were waiting for: the presentation by Christophe Josse, one of only 12 designers to have been conferred with the prestigious title of Grand Couturier by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. He didn't disappoint either, offering classic and elegant outfits in the true French haute couture spirit. He says working with Thai fabric is very interesting and challenging due to the width of Thai silk, which is narrower than other types of fabric.

Josse mixed the silk with the fine fabrics he usually uses for his haute couture collections, among them organza, charmeuse, painted fabrics, and delicate embroideries. The bluish Mudmee gowns were constructed with graphic shapes, highlighting the lustrous surface of silk, then draped and finished with a metal belt.

In addition to highlighting the high fashions of today, "The Queen of Thai Silk" event looked back at the past through the "Pen Yoo Kue Her Majesty the Queen Sirikit" exhibition staged by the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles. Among the items on display were outfits, examples of Thai national dress, historic court textiles, and a khon costume from Nang Loi episode initiated by Her Majesty.


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