Thailand's princess ready for fashion show at Siam Paragon
His Majesty the King's daughter Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana will again display her talents as a fashion designer on Wednesday (March 15) with the highly anticipated unveiling of her spring-summer collection before an expected audience of 900 A-list guests.
The extravaganza at Siam Paragon, featuring Thai supermodels and to be accompanied by a full orchestra, will be carried live via a Facebook webcast beginning at 8pm. Anyone can watch at https://m.facebook.com/SirivannavariBangkok.
The 30-year-old Princess posted on Facebook (HRHPrincessSirivannavariNariratana) on Sunday that she and the 80-member Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra and choir were busily rehearsing for the show.
She also posted her interview with Vogue magazine's Thai edition, in which she explains that the new collection is inspired by a trip to Greece and the south of France and a poem she wrote about the love shared by an ocean-dwelling angel and a human male. It begins with a journey by sea, but ends tragically under a moonlit, star-filled sky.
Her womenswear for Sirivannavari represents the angel, while the S'Homme men's line refers to her lover, a warm and sensitive man
The orchestra will perform a theme song titled "Serenity", composed by the Princess and drawn from the same romance story, with lyrics beginning with the line "In the sea of stars I wish to be found".
The spring-summer line comprises more than 50 different looks for women under the Sirivannavari label and others for men in her S'Homme line.
Both lines feature beachwear and accessories, including leather goods. There is astonishing diversity in the collection, ranging from ancient-Greek-style evening dresses and a see-through black evening grown to suits and travel coats for the men.
"The collection is simple, but delicately crafted with hand-embroidering," the Princess tells Vogue.
The embroidery does indeed stand out. The classic French style merges with a contemporary rendition of the traditional Thai beadwork as seen on khon costumes. In this she had the help of renowned jeweller Prayuth Sirikul.
Prayuth learned the art of costume embroidery from National Artist Chakrabhand Poshayakrit and the French style from Tokyo's Lemmikko: Artisan de la Broderie d'Art.
Following the example of her grandmother, Her Majesty the Queen Sirikit, in fostering Thai craftsmanship through the introduction of modern design, the Princess opened the Sirivannavari School to help develop artisans' skills and preserve traditional practices and knowledge.
"I'd like Thai craftsmen to learn all the various processes used, along with innovative techniques and creative design," she tells the magazine.
One piece is embroidered with another line from her song - "My waiting may be everlasting, my longing is full of melancholy beyond imagination". She explains that this refers to paramours trusting in their love even as they wait for its fulfilment, however long it takes.
"I wanted this collection to reflect that softness of emotion and at the same time a woman's power of love and ability to persevere. The material is soft, suggesting sensitiveness and femininity. I don't see many designers conveying poetry in their fashion."
This collection also makes use of Japanese-style woodblock printing on fabric. She studied the art form with an eye to utilising it in her designs and says she and her craftsmen spent a month creating each piece.
"The technique fits my fashion theme," she says. "Japan relates to the ocean, fishing and waves. After I studied it more, I discovered how it influenced European art in the 19th century, especially the French masters like Monet."
As in the maritime fairytale that the Princess conceived, makeup and hairstyles in Wednesday's show will allude to mermaid fantasies, with the hair and clothing draped in dazzling Swarovski crystals.
"I hope the audience will enjoy it!" she says.
The Princess is meanwhile adding to festivities marking the centenary of her alma mater, Chulalongkorn University, by staging a retrospective exhibition of her designs at the Chula Expo 2017 from March 15 to 19. It will be in the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts building.