Three years ago, just before the pandemic outbreak, I participated for the first time in a fashion show in Bangkok during Thai Silk International Fashion Week. A very special event in Thailand, where I was invited to represent the Netherlands with a small collection made of hand-woven, Thai silk.
In addition to Fashion week and the collection, I then made clothes for the Dutch ambassador (at the time) and his wife, Kees and Katharina Rade. Honorable and wonderful to do:
Fashion show in Bangkok
Much to my delight, after much in the studio had been at a standstill due to the impact of the pandemic, I was invited to participate again in this great and special event in August. The format is slightly different, but the basics remain the same:
- Participation in Thai Silk International Fashion Week with six outfits
- Joint show with some other countries
- Clothing is made of at least 70% Thai hand-woven silk
- Choice of silk from extensive catalog
- Total freedom in laying out your collection
Because of my experience last time, it did not take much time to think about whether I would accept this invitation.
Although I was planning to work on a new collection in the Netherlands, I changed my plans and came up with the Thai silk collection in such a way that I can continue on this with other designs afterwards.
One of the reasons to participate is the fact that I love challenges! I enjoy moving in a field of tension where it matters. I find that ample in this trajectory:
- time frame: there is very limited time to shape and realize the collection within the given time alongside other work already planned (B&B and courses)
- fabric: Thai silk is beautiful but has a few characteristics that keep surprising me and making me adjust a design many a time … 🙂
- International event: to do this show, I have to prepare in such a way that I take everything with me to Bangkok. In the Netherlands, I can think of and realize last-minute things. When I travel to Thailand, it all has to “make sense” on the spot
It was with great pleasure that I held my first show during Amsterdam Fashion Week in 2017. A solo couture show in the month I turned 50 was a big thing. The experience of a fashion show in Bangkok in 2019 turned out to be very different again. First of all, it is much more of an international event. Amsterdam Fashion Week is more of a Dutch party. Second, the show in Bangkok is in a totally different setting and with different principles. Meeting fashion designers from Thailand and around the world has stuck with me as warm and special. Again, I look forward to that immensely.
Thai silk is a special product. It is woven in rural Thailand by farmers, giving them an additional source of income. They work according to traditional patterns on small weaving frames. The silk has a texture reminiscent of dupion silk, but because of the way it is woven, the fabric has an inimitable sheen that you don’t really discover until you get to work with it. This makes working with Thai silk special.
(For the seamstresses among you)
There are a number of things that make working with this silk special:
- the width of the fabric is only 1 meter (unlike the fabrics we usually use in Europe with a width of 140/150 cm)
- the fabric often has a woven-in pattern that is not exactly the same everywhere. This makes matching patterns to seams almost impossible
- Often the fabric has a plain piece on both selvedges or a plain on one side and a border motif on the other. So what remains of woven-in design is about 70 cm wide. So you can forget about a circle skirt cut out of one piece … (and several more things)
Of course, the points above are not disadvantages. However, they are very specific. There’s no way around it. So you have to adjust your design accordingly. For example, by deliberately incorporating the border motif as a decorative element. Or by using the narrow, plain strip to make a plain corset (this is what I did this year) for a dress with lots of pattern.
You can watch the 2019 show below:
Should I find time for it, I will share some more about this time’s process soon, but may not be able to do so until after I return from Bangkok.
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