Born in Thailand and a sometime collaborator with Phillip Lim, Suwannagate is known among the cognoscenti for her artful recycled cashmeres, most of which are conceived in three dimensions. It's not unusual to find rosettes on the back of a cardigan, say, or a vine of appliqués running down the rib cage of a dress. This was her first show in the New York big time, however. "I realized it was now or never. You're never ready until you put yourself out there," the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award finalist said by phone before she left L.A. "My nomination encouraged me to take it to the next level."
The environment for Suwannagate's debut was orchestrated with great care. In addition to commissioning a hand-painted backdrop, she worked with a musician to compose a soundtrack of birdcalls to reinforce the hummingbird theme, which was also reflected in the palette and embroidery. As part of her push to expand her range, she is now making her own, more production-friendly knits, like a lovely cardigan with an attached scarf. The silhouette was attenuated, pieced skirts reached the ground. Dresses were often color-blocked and embellished, sometimes preciously so. While Suwannagate's work is very artsy-craftsy, and therefore a challenge for some, many insiders have already been won over. "Just sooo beautiful," the front-row girls sighed.