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Thakoon Womenswear S/S12

Spaghetti Western meets Indian journey at Thakoon Panichgul's new collection

TextSusie LauPhotographyMark Reay

Thakoon Panichgul broke new ground last season as the unexpected mix of Versailles rococo with Masai tribe proved to be a success both with the critics and the stores. For S/S12, Panichgul took it a step further and upped the daring by taking a romantic notion of America, the nostalgia of watching spaghetti Western films and then fusing that with the origins of paisley - India and all its colourful vibrancy. It's a mix that made for a rampantly vivid collection with turquoise silks, gold lurex, orange lace and of course, super pronounced paisley prints all getting a shout on models who sported slicked back rainbow-coloured hair and the requisite Stetson hat.  Panichgul's move into camp territory was essentially restrained by the fact that the shapes themselves were all the sort that a girl about town could wear - a blazer, a floppy skirt, a shirt dress with a few floor-sweeping skirts that came with a gilded trenchcoat to root things down a bit. Afterall, Panichgul himself was sporting a 9/11 t-shirt. He certainly remembers where his homebase is despite the fantastical journey in his head.

Dazed Digital: Cowboys and Indians.  How did you come to those colliding themes?
Thakoon Panichgul:
It wasn't as obvious as, the idea of cowboys and indians.  It was an organic way of working with one thing leading to another.

DD: Did it start with the paisley?
Thakoon Panichgul:
We actually started with this Romantic idea of America.  What is that?  Other cultures have this romantic idea of cowboys in American, like when you go to Japan and they have one set of ideas and  I was watching spaghetti Westerns.  There's not that much of that idea in America anymore.  The print research took me to India, the originator of paisley.  So we were looking at the spice market, all those colours and the maharajah theme.  

DD: How did you play with those themes of India without it becoming like costume?
Thakoon Panichgul:
When we put everything on, it had to be something that a girl in New York could walk down the street wearing. There was no obvious referencing. Everything was a bit subverted.  I don't do design from travelling and exotic localises, I design from dreams and my own reality.

DD: Yet you were able to reference a garment like the sari in the collection?
Thakoon Panichgul:
I think we had to do it and we played with it and it was a sort of 'poppy' reference to the sari.