September 10, 2011
Bollywood Western. Spurred on, little doubt, by the success of his Fall collection, which mixed Versailles rococo with Kenya's Masai tribe, Thakoon Panichgul went multiculti again for Spring. This time around, it was an everyday bandanna that kicked things off. When he studied its pattern, the paisleys led him to India. The cross-cultural exchange produced a super-vibrant collection of searing turquoise, saffron, orange, and gold, in silhouettes that ranged from yoked Western shirts to a lamé salwar kameez embroidered at the neckline. The metallic trim on saris provided a recurring motif. Golden bands encircled the hem of a flippy mini, the legs of khakis and lightweight denim jeans, and intervals on a long trapeze dress. Topping everything off were updos powdered hot pink or aqua and two-tone cowboy
hats. It was fearless—good on Panichgul for really going for it—but also camp.
Amid the kitsch, though, was the kind of thing this designer has always done very well—namely, the special little dress. A floral shirtdress with the shoulders scooped away captured the collection's verve, while a chambray version with orange embroidery at the neckline was a shade or two more subtle. Panichgul's experiments with full, floor-scraping skirts looked fresh in a season that's been short on long. And the trench with storm flaps stitched in bullion had a collector's appeal.