September 09, 2004
In just ten pieces, designer Thakoon Panichgul put himself on the map with an aesthetic that's forward-looking, respectful of the past, and not at all vintage. In fact, Panichgul's delicate deconstructionsas seen on a silver taffeta inside-out skirt and cotton-linen shortsare entirely modern, owing more to the Antwerp Six than to Vionnet. And though his collection might be perfect for a modern Madame de Pompadour, it would suit an L.A. starlet just as well. Who could resist a mint taffeta shirt-jacket with ribbon trim, or a silver taffeta embroidered coat?
Cecil Beaton portraits of debutantes in Charles James gowns were Panichgul's starting point, and he managed to execute his own sense of elegant gravitas with a lightness and focus that belied his youth. "I think that fashion is entering into a new kind of formalityone that is spirited and space age, rather than stuffy and boring," Panichgul said afterward. We're definitely up for the ride.