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Dazzle among the duds

Bangkok International Fashion Week closes with a flurry of couturier chaos, scintillating looks - and a dip in the fountain

Published on November 13, 2007

Dazzle among the duds


It was a busy weekend for style-shapers with Bangkok International Fashion Week wrapping up, and we joined the jostling at Siam Paragon, seeing as many shows as we could. It was a vast twirl of fabric, from old school to rock 'n' roll to hilltribe, from renaissance to classic oriental classic.

On the catwalks were Kai, Tube Gallery, Good Mixer & Muse, Nagara, Muung Doo and Flynow.

Fashion's chaotic blending these days seems to have had little effect on Kai's Somchai Kaewthong. Although this wasn't his best show in recent years, his haute-couture vigour remains outstanding for its consistency.

Kai used shiny, sumptuous and sheer materials like satin and chiffon, and all the gowns boasted beautiful white roses, wonderfully contrasting with the blood-red lips of the models. The theme was "Don't Cry for Me, Bangkok", but there was nothing to be glum about in the long dresses with their ultra-feminine look in pleats and soft layering.

Those same fabrics, satin and chiffon, were everywhere at this season's Fashion Week, though in extreme variations.

In Tube Gallery's show, "Karen Carmen: Hilltribe Madame Goes Opera", Saksit Pisalaspongs and Phisit Jongnarangsin both charmed and entertained viewers with their ethnic plays on Western notions and emotional shades of black and white with accents of red.

Short dresses with lots of volume, in various styles, went retro, strapless and ballerina-delicate, and the designers dabbed in rustic trousers but still had a long, white dress for the finale.

"Good Mixer & Muse" by Chaichon Sawantaraj unveiled a collection called Perpetually Mesmerised, truly eclectic with leather, chiffon, soft colours and exquisite pleating and lace combined with leggings and headdresses. Meanwhile Good Mixer - Chaichon's menswear - returned to its punky origins.

Muung Doo took the stage with "Dame: Silk & Satin", a collection by Na-chanok Ratanadaros and Ratthaphol Yolthawill. The main fabric was Thai silk, but the latest trends showed through in satin silk in vivid black, gold, metallic, lilac and blue.

The collection really gives the brand a deluxe look, and though there were many unnecessary details, most agreed that the metal magic gives Muung Doo its hottest look ever, 10 years after the birth of the brand.

For a show from which no surprises were expected, the Nagara collection by Nakorn Sampantarak certainly rocked the catwalk, as Methanee "Luk Ked" Kingpayom and company made some modern noise amid the exotic beauty of Japanese Obi clothes expertly pleated, dyed and printed in the brand's famous style.

Flynow usually closes the show at local fashion events, and this season Chamnan Pakdeesuk came up with the terrific "Rock & Roll Meets Renaissance" collection.

It didn't touch the heart like Nagara did, perhaps because it started so late and ended so quickly. The organisation needs work, but Chamnan's huge ruffled bows on short dresses were memorable, as were the sculpted materials decorating his very feminine outfits.

Phuket Mermaids by Nuria Stuart provided just the thing to cool us off - the "Mystique" collection of elegant swimwear. At show's end the models kept on walking - from the runway to the fountain in Paragon Park. We were wondering why we'd all gathered in the hall in the first place.

In the "Kit + Ti's Jewellery" show by Kitti Manoonphol and Ittiphol Ruekdee, grandiose necklaces adorned women in swimsuits and clumsy high heels. There should have been a better way to highlight all those gorgeous gems, designed in contemporary ethnic styles.

The "Kunitar & 8E88" collection created by Saruda and Chinchan Nimpitakpong drew its ins- piration from their friendships with other designers and friends at home and abroad.

"Urban lifestyle is on a fast track," Saruda said, "and I want people to be able to go to a party straight from office."

White, grey, black and a cheerful pink worked well among the minimalist dresses and puffy skirts, as did bows.

Daniel Swarovski's "Soul of Time" collection by Nathalie Colin Robliqe went time travelling with a nomadic princess. There was dazzling crystal jewellery and accessories and shiny bags, and the last model on the catwalk was covered head to toe with crystals, including a gem-trimmed belt and shoes.

The Yosawadee show by Pusadee Mantabhorn adhered to the brand's identity, with silk mixed with chiffon. The look was very feminine, afloat on light materials in both cocktail and evening dresses. The silhouette shaped beautifully on the female curve, though layering and puffiness were featured in most blouses and skirts.

Top 5 notes of the week

 1. Dresses in every style imaginable, from mini to knee-length

  and maxi

 2. A mix of elegant styles, but this will mean no more easy  dressing

 3. The designers seem to be embracing volume to ensure

  a modern feel.

 4. Sheer, shiny and see-through fabrics

 5. Black, white, red, some vivid greens and soft metallic tones

Vipasai Niyamabha,  

 Kupluthai Pungkanon

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