HRH Princess Sirivannavari Infuses the charm of a classic love story in two wonderful lines of clothing and accessories
A YOUNG couple in love, separated and yearning – a military officer and a farm girl at the end of World War II. The countryside itself seems blessed with romance. Flowers bloom everywhere. You can hear the sound of a horse running – and of a typewriter.
Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana had all these elements in a poem she wrote last year that became the inspiration for “Horse, Helen, and Henri”, her latest line of clothing for the Sirivannavari and S’Homme labels.
The spring-summer collection was unveiled last week, replete with ultra-feminine silhouettes, state-of-the-art embroidery and her signature graphic prints.
“The poem is the story of the love between a young military officer and a farm girl, and that turned out to be the beginning of this collection,” explained Princess Sirivannavari, the 31-year-old daughter of His Majesty the King and the creative director at both labels.
“I found it quite astonishing to translate this poem into a fashion collection. All the details in the collection can be found in the story shared in the poem, such as the horse and horse tack, the yellow of canola, ears of barley, sealing wax, poppy flowers and buzzing bees.”
Princess Sirivannavari became interested in the arts in general and clothing design in particular while she was a student. She studied fashion and textiles at Chulalongkorn University and L’Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne in Paris.
Her first collection, “Red Hobby”, was shown in 2004, and three years later she founded her own brand, Sirivannavari Bangkok. Its debut spring-summer line was shown at Paris Fashion Week 2008, at the invitation of famed French couturier Pierre Balmain. The royal stylist has since become a familiar face on the international fashion scene. She was among “the 20 Hottest Young Royals” compiled by Forbes in 2008.
To present her new collection, the runway at Siam Paragon’s Royal Paragon Hall was decked out with red poppy flowers, echoing the red lips of Helen, the heroine of her poem. The clacking of a typewriter signalled the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra to begin playing a score that Princess Sirivannavari composed for the occasion.
“The show consists of five and a half acts,” she said. “The music is neo-romantic with a modern twist and a touch of acoustic gui
tar. It narrates the story of the romance that develops between Henri and Helen. The sound of a typewriter signifies the correspondence typed by Helen.”
The love story opens in early spring, with fields of vibrant yellow canola in full bloom. Helen sees a horse running through the field carrying an unconscious young soldier, Henri. She tends to his wounds, and as he recovers, romance blossoms.
However, when Henri has fully recovered, a sense of duty compels him to rejoin the army. Before they exchange farewells, Helen gives him a painting of his horse, and Henri gives her his military tunic. He promises he will come back and spend the rest of his life with her.
As the relationship becomes long-distance, Henri writes her letters by hand, while she relies on a typewriter. As time goes by, they lose touch. After a year has passed, Helen has lost hope. Then one day she walks to the field where the poppy flowers are blooming as red as her lips and again hears the sound of a running horse.
Her heart begins to pound like a drum in nervous anticipation. Once she sees who is standing in front of her, she bursts into tears of joy. Henri has kept his promise.
The Sirivannavari and S’Homme spring-summer lines consist of 57 looks – 50 for women and seven for men.
The show commenced with a romantic white dress with ruffle details, an evening gown with poppy flowers and feather applique and crystals encrusted in the shape of a horseshoe, and a leather bustier with a hand-painted motif.
A more masculine look took the shape of a Napoleonic jacket with gold-thread embroidery in a pattern of ears of barley and bees. It was matched with high-waist slacks and a deconstructed jacket with raw edge details paired with pristine white jeans.
“The silhouettes and structures of this season are quite varied and complicated, from a mermaid dress and ball gown to deconstructed looks,” the Princess said. “In addition, I added some details and techniques to create new dimensions, such as a quilted pattern and pleating technique from Gerard Lognon’s workshop in Paris and our own maison’s embroidery craftsmanship.”
She established the Sirivannavari Atelier and Academy, an in-house workshop for couture embroidery.
As anticipated, graphic prints – so characteristic of the brand – remains a highlight. The Princess created the latest prints by visually translating her poem. There were two themes – the horses and tack, and the flowers, bees and ears of barley. The prints are also incorporated into the textile collection, such as a square scarf and a miniature rectangular version used for handbag handles.
The Bijoux Collection adheres to the same inspiration – horses and tack, barley and poppies – in jewellery settings. The brand’s new Fine Jewellery collection includes rings, necklaces and earrings.
To complete a look, there are leather goods, such as a beautiful bucket bag with an interwoven leather strap and adorned with gilded metal and flower, and a laser-cut tote featuring hand-painted graphics. The shoes are sexy in transparent materials, with the shoestrings resembling corset laces. There are flats, top boots and heels up to four inches high.
And there’s beachwear, too, meant to empower by instilling confidence. The swimwear has cut-outs and custom-made Swarovski crystals. An elegant cover-up robe would suit both men and women.
The S’Homme menswear collection combines the luxe of the modern urban gentlemen with the casualness of the countryside, reflecting Henri’s personality. The key pieces are the exquisitely embroidered Napoleonic tunic, a double-breasted jacket with red piping and matching trousers, a herringbone military jacket paired with white jeans, a woollen hoodie, and a white shirt with pleats at the back and cuffs.
The men’s shoes and accessories are outstanding, including Derby shoes, sneakers, jacket pins and neckties in the customary prints.
INSPIRATION IN VERSE
- The spring-summer 2018 collection is available at the Sirivannavari Boutique on the first floor of Fashion Gallery 3 at Siam Paragon.
- The 2017 poem by HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana:
“Love drove me to renounce my pain. I promise to return.
“I will find you, marry you and love you with dignity and without shame.”
“Gliding with each step, the earth sighs with each hoof-touch.
“His every move with purpose and grace.
“And I have found happiness in his presence.
“Through him I sense power, inner peace and resolve.”