Joining the Thai International Fashion Week in 2019 by invitation was a completely new and surprising experience! Incomparable to what I had experienced in the Netherlands during Amsterdam Fashion Week. A total enrichment.
I’d like to take you on this adventure. Imagine: you receive an email in the summer of 2019 from a complete stranger from Thailand, inviting you on behalf of Celebration of Silk – an organisation dedicated to the promotion of Thai, hand-woven silk – to create a collection for international audiences of the most exclusive silks. Not only that: it is also an invitation to dress the Dutch ambassador and his wife for this event.
In my experience, this was too good to be true. To be honest: I doubted that this was not some kind of scam. I write this in embarrassment, now knowing how many people worked behind the scenes on this event with such dedication.
So I didn’t take immediate action. In fact, just before the deadline I reacted, still curious as to what it was all about. And I fell from one surprise into another: an event where fashion designers from all over the world are flown in to show their vision of a contemporary interpretation of a traditional fabric; a gala where official representatives of as many countries walk the catwalk as models; it all adds up to one big party. A party I was allowed to attend, to participate in. It felt like a special opportunity and challenge: time was suddenly running out.
Making sketches, working out ideas, draping, ordering fabric … The circus of creating a collection was suddenly in full swing! It were long days that fall. Ending with a trip to Bangkok in November.
For me, the short jumpsuit worn by the model above formed the starting point for this collection: spicy short with a contemporary look. The processing of the fringe motif gives a block pattern, transforming the traditional expression into a graphic optic.
These two long jumpsuits build on the 2017 “Come Fly with Me” Collection, in which aviator suits gave a cool touch to the classically modern couture collection.
Thai silk has a number of characteristics that are important to the design process:
- the fabric is only 1 meter wide
- the fabric usually has a plain edge on both sides: sometimes narrow, sometimes wider
- the fabric has a motif in the middle, sometimes with an additional edge motif on one side
This brings with it some challenges, and of course possibilities. In the purple dress you see above, the fringe motif is used explicitly to form the collar. The panels of the dress are narrow, so the quieter plain edges of the fabric form strips to alternate with the woven motif of the inner strip of the fabric.