Fantasies in fashion at 8th Bangkok International Fashion Week

For a man used to being cast alongside lovely ladies, actor Nadech Kugimiya appeared a little bashful last week in his debut appearance at Siam Paragon Bangkok International Fashion Week. Perhaps it was the presence of actresses Urassaya "Yaya" Sperbund, Khemanij "Pancake" Jamikorn, Sririta Jensen, and Namthip "Bee" Jongrachatawiboon or maybe he didn't feel quite up to being a model, but he and the gals nonetheless wowed spectators in Nagara's glorious gowns.

Nagara Sambandaraksa, who showed his new collection on the first day of the four-day fashion week, took spectators on a passage to India through a series of exuberant colourful dresses. The designer used exotic materials sourced from various regions across India including hand-woven fabrics, native floral prints and made-to-order cloth woven and dyed by India artisans.

These fabrics were put together with a complex applique technique to create unusual structures. For example, an indigenous Indian blouse was mixed with hints of Japanese traditions in typical Nagara style and cut and tailored in a simple yet extraordinary way. The gada, or a club, the weapon used by Hanuman in the Ramayana epic, became the inspiration for sleeves while the Indian way of tying a knot created the detail on the shirt's sleeves and edges. Exotic decorative materials such as peacock and quail feathers, enhanced Nagara's exceptional use of vivid orange, yellow, pink, green and purple.

Tube Gallery also put on a show that delighted the watching fashionistas. Designer pair Saksit Pisalasupongs and Phisit Jongnarangsin turned Thai heritage into three outstanding looks inspired by the beauty of the country's temples, Loei province's colourful Phi Ta Khon ghost festival and the world-famous Thai kickboxing. The brand partnered with the Tourism Authority of Thailand for this fashion presentation that was delivered using the latest in multimedia.

Later in the show, the designers moved to Paris with a showcase of prints inspired by traditional French parquetry, marble and wrought iron. With small black-and-white squares dominating skirts and jackets, the collection conjured up visions of the typical 1940s Paris apartment enhanced with a touch of the avant-garde.

One of Thailand's hardest-working designers, Vatanika Patamasingha na Ayudhaya, founder and designer of Vatanika brand, has presented three fashion shows over the past couple of months. For her BIFW "Resort 2015" collection, presented in collaboration with Citibank, she combined pinstripe masculinity with lacy femininity to create a complementary contrast of textures.

"We used menswear tailoring techniques to make the cutting and pattern more interesting," she told XP after the show. "The items can be worn for both work and play. There are also corseted knee length dresses, midi dresses, and one-sleeve tunic tops made with classic lace, which can be worn as a short dress or paired with sleek trousers."

Silk organza added sensuality to pastel lace skirts and shorts while soft wool was pressed into service to soften the more formal working look. Pinstripe blouses, skirts, trousers came in various lengths, and drape dresses also in pinstripe created a chic business look. The collection's ready-to-wear crop-tops, tank tops, shirts, playsuits and jumpsuits all boasted a pinstripe pattern too, blending sexiness with sophistication

Making its first appearance at BIFW was Rotsaniyom White Label, a street brand founded in 2009. Designer Pongsak Kobrattanasuk caught the public eye when he showcased its first collection at Bangkok's Fat T-shirt Festival and told XP he defines his brand as "an individual imperfect beauty ideal".

His collection for spring-summer 2015 blended stylish vintage-style dresses and modern separates in white and ecru lace with delicate handwork and beautiful silhouettes and bathed the catwalk in an ethereal ambience.

BIFW drew to a close on Sunday evening with a truly glamorous show by Flynow Gold Label 2015. The stylish looks created by Chamnan Pakdeesuk were inspired by elements of the New Romantic era and featured rich fabrics such as satin and silk organdie blended with exotic sequinned work and refined vintage embroidery details.

High waisted and very feminine, the collection featured knee-length A-line skirts or voluminous layered chiffon skirts matched with masculine blazers with large peplums or bows added to the waist and hip as well as on the sleeves. Ostrich feathers and bell-shaped chiffon created a dramatic look and the checked print motif added a touch of sophisticated class.

Other designers and their sponsors participating in this edition of BIFW included 27NOV (presented by Bucher), Absolute Siam inspired by TrueVisions, which brought together three chic brands available exclusively at Siam Center; AB-Normal, Q Design and Play, and Wonder Anatomie.

BIFW also served as a stage for professional designers and newcomers to compete in the first TIFA Awards by DIP, a design contest in apparel, jewellery and leather organised for the first time by the Industry Minister's Department of Industrial Promotion.

The showcase of international designers included Cristiano Burani presented by Digital Fashion Week, a major collaborator of BIFW2014, and the Singapore Designer Collective featuring Thomas Wee, Max.Tan, Mash-Up and Yesah.

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