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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thai Designers are Girlie Girls

Thai fashion houses are starting to choose sides. Team Girlie Girl vs. The Edgy Chicks.  The distinction was clear to me during my daily stroll through Paragon. (You see, I have some time on my hands now.)

It's all over for Sretsis, Disaya and Kloset. They've morphed into variations on a cotton candy theme with their barely distinguishable collections. Sretsis Spring Summer 2013 brings us hearts and ponies, Kloset shows a daydreamy collection titled 'Me, Myself and the Sky' (obviously a continuation from last season's whimsical tea parties) while Disaya's current designs are 'Kisses from the Blooms,' so that's flowers and... umm...kisses. Smooches, dahling!

Unfortunately, one of my long-time favorite brands and a pioneer of Thai fashion, Issue, is also falling for the girlie trap, and I'm not talking meet-at-Soi-Cowboy-marry-me-and-support-my-whole-village type of girlie trap.

Issue's Summer Sweet SS13 collection sadly takes the edge off their unique, bold, Eastern inspired designs with pastel shades, pouffy peplum skirts and scalloped edged miniskirts. I still love the luxe hippie vibe from Issue though, and the evening wear in black, with sheer panels and embellishments is très magnifique.   

But is Issue's double personality a reflection of a larger... issue in Thai society? (Sorry couldn't resist!) 

On my way out of Paragon I stopped to buy the latest shade of M.A.C baby pink lipstick with matching gloss so I'm not really one to talk. But art reflects life and Thai fashion seems to reflect the way we view women in society.

Thai soap operas cast female leads into distinct roles - the innocent sweet girl (heroine), the vamp (villain - until she repents and becomes the heroine), the married woman/mother (thus naggy and unnattractive) and, of course, the comic relief (being cross-eyed and/or a maid is optional). Are we casting our clothing choices into the same roles?

And perhaps an even more important question, can any respectable woman over the age of 30 actually wear these girlie designs and get away with it??

The Girlie Girls: Sretsis, Disaya, Kloset, Lyn Around

Paula Taylor manages to pull off a Kloset mini dress at the ripe old age of 30.

On the other hand, the vampy villain of our beloved lakorns would most likely be caught cheating with someone's husband in a creation by Milin or Vatanika. These brands almost overdo it on the bra tops, cutouts, and mini skirts to ensure they're spotted on the most daring, bold, and prieow of Bangkok's hi-so gals. 

If you're a working woman in Bangkok in your late 20's or early 30's, like almost everyone I see around me on the sky train, then you probably have a better chance with the Edgy Chick look. Even then, you're required to go the extra mile (or floor, if you're in Paragon) to Zara for a blazer to cover your cut-out obliques, at least until you arrive at your usual table at Seen Space after work.

Maybe this dilemma just highlights the need for more variety in Thai fashion. If so, I hope some new designers who aren't afraid to forge new territory will jump at the chance to fill the gap.

The Edgy Chicks: Vickteerut, Vatanika, Asava, Milin

With the new 'Lady to Drink' collection I may have to switch
Milin from team edgy to team girlie.