You'd be hard pressed to find a more unassuming designer than Thakoon Panichgul. He might not be in it for the spotlight, but he can't seem to escape the high beams. Not only has he received Michelle Obama's blessing, he also landed a cameo in The September Issue. Oh, and did we mention that Amanda Brooks and co. can't seem to leave home without his label on their backs? "Thakoon is just so easy to wear," Elettra Wiedemann was heard enthusing to a friend at the show today.
It certainly wasn't hard to take a shine to Panichgul's Spring lineup, which included lots of the crowd-pleasing print dresses that have become his signature. Some of them felt a little bit like sequels—but there were new ideas here: strains of Japonisme in the kimono cuts and so-called ninja pants, a scuba-inflected athleticism in the techno-twill seamed pants, and armoring (though some of the shield dresses looked a bit, well, stiff).
Most interesting was the manner in which Panichgul carried forward and developed concepts from his romantic and wildly popular Resort collection. The plissé pleats that had fabulously swelled like soufflés for pre-collection were controlled for Spring, as Panichgul married this surface treatment to the soft bondage that he's toyed with before. "I wanted to evoke loose and tight together," Panichgul explained, "sometimes in one silhouette." The upshot? Another guaranteed season at center stage.