Bangkok is definitely a runway, bursting with stylish people and homegrown talent, and Elle Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013 has proven such points by foregoing the traditional white tent for three venues across town.
The legendary movie theatre Scala, an almost forgotten Lumpini Hall and the trendy W Hotel were chosen as venues for the 15-year-old fashion event across four days last week. Each venue had its own merits, as well as presenting fashion die-hards with alternatives and excitement in seeing designers adapt to new, challenging settings.
Unfortunately Tu'i had to drop out at the last minute due to personal health issues, leaving nine Thai brands to present their spring/summer 2013 collections for the first time to the usual fashion crowd, overseas buyers and international bloggers.
Greyhound Something Boudoir Issue
It was clever to choose Scala to open Elle Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013. The cinema is already an artistic statement on its own, and by adding the wonders of Greyhound, Something Boudoir and Issue, the cinema, not in a creepy, slasher film way, came alive last Wednesday.
Even though it failed to maximise the use of the gigantic screen, Greyhound's "Dis-Arter" successfully handed out the doom and gloom atmosphere in an artful manoeuvre. Accentuated by alternative/electronic folk weirdness and hyper-straightened hair, Greyhound transported Scala into another realm. What kept them grounded was the restrained use of frills, obviously concentrating on hidden details. While a lot of brands stick to extreme ends of the fashion spectrum _ either you're a princess or a harlot _ Greyhound once again chose to stick with smart women through loose, classic silhouettes and slightly weirder men with bomber jackets and hanging trousers.
The most remarkable aspect for "Dis-Arter" was, however, the understated prints. Under the hands of revered illustrator/graphic designer Romesilp Sook-prasert, who has joined the Greyhound team full-time, the works consisted of digital error prints and marble arts, as well as harsh flower prints on a dead computer screen.
Switching to a completely different mood, Something Boudoir slapped us out of Greyhound's powerful digital terror with its cute, girly, hyper "Fun in the Sun" collection.
Inspired by Pippi Longstocking's adventure at sea, the show literally brought Ms Longstocking to life in numbers, and they were all wearing Something Boudoir. The colour ensemble was pleasing while the prints of nautical, sea life and sailor motifs were juvenile as it probably set out to please younger, happier mademoiselles who still need a governess to fend lurking young masters holidaying on the beach off of them. Sinister spinsters need not apply. Bold stripes with achingly sweet colours come in various forms from cropped tops, high-waisted skirts to chiffon dresses.
Closing the premiere night was the long-standing house, Issue. Known and loved for its grandeur and craftsmanship, "Thai Sweet" encapsulated what has made Issue a staple brand after all these years. With the best-choreographed show and the most dramatic lighting design of the night, Issue packed in punches through its interpretation of traditional Thai sweets. "Thai Sweet" brought us back to an imaginary court life of the olden days but with platform heels, neon colour hair and buff men in swim suit trunks.
From cheerful concubines, secretive ladies in waiting to warrior princesses, Issue splattered them with trademark tribalistic prints and intricate sequinning combined with layered, entwining outlines.
There you have it. Three shows of three different moods and tones started Elle Fashion Week well on its path.
_ Onsiri Pravattiyagul
Asava Senada Curated by Ek Thongprasert
The second night of Elle Fashion Week at Lumpini Hall saw three shows by Asava, Senada and Curated by Ek Thongprasert.
A location that is usually forgotten, the dance hall within the lush green park is a most fitting venue, considering its spacious outdoors, which should give more terrain for fashionistas to pose for the camera throughout the night. Inside, a black arch structure that was decorated with numerous chandeliers filled the dance hall, giving a versatile backdrop for a show of any temperament.
Dramatic and heavy electro beats synchronised with fluorescent neon lights started off the first show by Asava. The entrance was dramatic and models shot towards you from three parallel catwalks, pacing up and down different mirror-like runways, giving you over three outfits to process from one walk at times. Staying close to his slick silhouettes, a summery air was given to this collection with horizontal stripes and Maui flower prints. Although the cutting remained simple and elegant, a technique this season brought out was intricate knots and bustiers to really enhance the female figure.
Senada's show literally transferred you into a melancholic forest, with crisp leaves covering the whole space and the runway changing into the shape of a cross. A grand piano sat in the middle of the cross, to where an ominous pianist played live sombre tunes for the models to float along slowly to. The clothes were dark like the setting, following the shades of black, grey, white, brown and tropical dark green to capture the collection's inspiration, where Jim Thompson mysteriously disappeared in ''A Walk in the Forest''.
Creating an eminence of girlie luxe, this collection drew on combining many different textures between silk, prints, glitter embroidery and tulle, for the romantic lady to reveal a small glimpse of skin.
The stage for Curated by Ek Thongprasert brought no frills to the three bare runways because the collection was magnetic enough. With a snazzy palette that touched on all colours of the wheel, ''Mother Knows Best'' brought out a contemporary feel to what we love most about the 1950s.
It was all about female empowerment where housewives from those times finally get up to get sexy. The key look revamped 50s shapes, with full skirts getting a more playful and layered hemline and dresses a riveting backless makeover. The last show was jazzy, dandy, and brought a cheery close to the second night of Elle Fashion Week.
_ Parisa Pichitmarn
Lumpini Hall remained the venue for another day, but with only two showcases by Kloset and Munchu's.
Kicking off the show was a parade of models in Kloset's Spring/Summer 2013 collection, ''Me, Myself, and the Sky''. The runway was covered with a tailor-made floor painted with rainbow colours, giving the playful ambience that went smoothly with sugarcoated runway music.
As the title suggested, this season Kloset girls seem to be those with carefree spirits who are never shy to express their femininity. From sexy halter neck bodysuits to dreamy maxis and tunic dresses, Kloset played with the charm of summer, using pastel palette and prints that represented the sense of freedom from clouds and soap bubbles to graphic prints imitating lines of flowing hair. The notable items, which were spotted being sported by a number of exclusive guests, were jacket suit and cropped trousers in shinori print, in which Kloset gave a twist to the classic pattern by using metallic colour.
The following show by Munchu's appeared to attract different peers from the first show. Munchu's designer Munchumas Numbenjapol introduced the crowds to ''Moral Failure'', a collection that looked back to the jazz age of the 20s, in which the designer was inspired by a classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.
Unlike Kloset, Munchu's offered daring works with sophisticated cutting and techniques from patchwork, asymmetrical dress to ruffle skirt. The chosen fabrics such as organza, satin and silk helped glamourise the collection, where silver and gold accessories added to the elegance.
However, the show seemed to be divided into two parts by the choice of colours. The first half saw mainly black, white and gold, where the others were in pastel palettes. At the end of the show, Munchu's left the audience with a number of memorable items, from white pencil dress with golden letters print to pink organza trench coat.
_ Yanapon Musiket
The final day brought Elle Fashion Week to the trendy W Hotel on Sathon Road, where fashion label Vickteerut was the one who closed the much-loved event with a loud bang.
The runway was in a circle, surrounding the fountain in front of the hotel, with the beautiful colonial building as the backdrop of the show. This season, designer Teerut Wongwattanasin introduced Thai fashion scene to his ''Hello Stranger'' collection. Inspired by the female cyborg in 1927 black and white sci-fi flick Metropolis, Teerut translated his vivid imagination into urban yet futuristic wardrobes with metallic palettes. Having a blue laser showered down on the runway while smoke billowed lightly was a perfect touch to represent the theme of this collection.
Effortless wearability has always been the key of Vickteerut, who is lauded for his minimalistic simplicity. This season, Teerut added masculine cutting such as jacket suit and cropped trouser, while breaking his minimal boundary with lace and sequins. Interesting choices of colour such as topaz orange and emerald green lifted simple items to a new level.
Once the show closed its curtain, W Hotel hosted an after party at its bar and the outdoor terrace,where designers, models, celebrities and guests mingled and unwound for the rest of the night.
_ Yanapon Musiket