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They make silk sing

Inspired by the Queen, Thailand's best designers get sophisticated, even sexy

Free fashion shows today at 7pm and tomorrow at 3pm - with models wearing outfits of exquisite Thai fabrics created by 42 designers - bring to an end a government-hosted exhibition marking Her Majesty the Queen's birthday.

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn opened the exhibition at CentralWorld last Thursday.

Tinnakorn Asawarak organised the fashion shows of more than a hundred stunning outfits from the "Silp Hang Prae Mai" display area, utilising 10 kinds of silk from the Queen's Support Foundation - Mudmee, Hang Gra Rok, Kledtao, Pah Kao Ma, Kid, Praewa, Look Kaew, Meekoh and Chaokao.

Visitors receive an iPad to tour the "Silp Hang Prae Mai" exhibits with a recorded narrative about the designers' inspiration and the type of fabric uses.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Cabinet ministers and several foreign ambassadors attended a fashion show last Friday of collections by Nagara, Flynow, Hook's, Issue and Sanchai.

Models including Khemanit "Pancake" Jamikorn and Bussakorn Wongpuapan showed Nagara's neatly tailored evening tube gowns of mudmee silk, all beautifully dyed. The men's wear was refined, yet contemporary. Designer Nakorn Sampantarak pointed out the continuous progression in the development of Thai fabrics.

Flynow's prints of wild birds fabulously enhanced eye-catching bright-yellow blouses. Chamnan Pakdeesuk carried on the theme in matching blazers and trousers.

Sanchai's Jirat Subpisankul took inspiration from Japanese origami to create elegantly luxurious outfits in black silk highlighted with folded black and gold strips. "Thai silk has strong character," he said, "yet it's the sort of fabric that's weightless, so using draping techniques on an evening gown is to me very sophisticated."

For Hook's, Prapakas Aungsusingha stayed true to the label's distinctive chic in ready-to-wear outfits that made clever use of various textiles that complemented the silk, including leather, which offered a totally new look, sophisticated yet contemporary.

At Issue, Bhubawit Krittapholnara's signature style is tribal, and for the "royal" collection he used bright-turquoise silk draped into mid-length trousers in Chong Kraben's style. The tops were very sexy, accentuating feminine curves, and again made distinct with hilltribe patterns and hand-stitching.

Two other top designers, Chai Jiam-amornrat and Teera Chantasawasdi, were enthusiastic about the overall exhibition.

"We all had a great time," Chai said. "We were truly inspired by Her Majesty's determination to preserve Thai textiles. And I'm quite happy with my own design, which plays with proportion, allowing for a modern look, while the mix of patterns creates new dimension. I hope it will inspire younger designer!"

Teera who was imaging Cathareeya orchids when he created his clothes, said every young Thai designers must learn to work with the homegrown fabrics. "There are plenty of fabrics to choose from that are very unique, like hand-woven cotton." And any wannabes who think silk looks old-fashioned have to jettison the idea. "That's so wrong," he said.

There are three other zones in the exhibition.

"Phra Mae Hang Pan Din" presents an overview of Her Majesty's life and work and includes a five-storey replica garland hung with birthday cards that visitors can sign.

"Pra Raj Koranikij Pua Puang Chon" features pictures of Her Majesty performing her royal duties, taken by nine top photographers. Piyatat Hemmatat covered the Queen's efforts in education, Somchai Suriyasathaporn hilltribe agriculture, Wasan Pungprasert the protection of aquatic animals, Chamni Tipamanee the art of khon, Chutharat Pornmuneesoontorn forestry, Noppadon Kaosam-ang the three southern border provinces, Nat Prakobsantisuk the Support Foundation, Kachain Wonggleamthong Cambodian refugee aid and Pansiri Sirivetchapan medical services.

"Ku Phra Barami" is devoted to the love story of Their Majesties the King and Queen and their commitment to their duties over more than 60 years. On view are many rare photos.

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The 42 designers involved in the show:

Nakorn Sampantarak, Chamnan Pakdeesuk, Somchai Kaewthong, Sirichai Daharanond, Polpat Asavaprapha, Prapakas Aungsusingha, Chanachai Jareeyathana, Saksit Pisalasupongs, Phisit Jongnarangsin, Bhubawit Krittapholnara, Vatit Virashpanth, Itthi Metanee, Pimnutchaya Liptawat, Chanita Preechawitayakul, Jirat Subpisankul, Taweesak Samanmit, Chaichon Savantrat, Munchumart Numbenjapol, Teerut Wongwattanasin, MR Chantaraladda Yukol, Panu Ingkawat, Vitchukorn Chokedeetaweeanan, Ekkaphum Nganchamung, Disaya Sorakraikitikul, Siriorn Teankaprasith, Anurak Ruamsuk, Phrab Nawasetsopon, Mollika Ruangkritya, Nat Mangkand, Patsarun Srilyansoi, Chai Jiam-amornrat, Taned Boonprasarn, Wisharawish Akarasantisook, Pichitra Boonyarataphan, Pravit Sawadviphachai, Teera Chantasawasdi, Adisak Rojsiriphan, Milin Yuvacharuskul, Pusadee Mantraporn, Nuttanuch Wongpuapan, Wannasiri Kongman, Ek Thongprasert, Metta Tantisajjatham and Pimpa Kumpab.


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