Nagara – Bangkok International Fashion Week 2013

When it comes to fashion shows, some designers emphasize the “fashion,” others the “show.”  It therefore is a rare treat when a designer wholeheartedly embraces both, and that is what Nakorn Sampantarak did to the delight of the crowd at Bangkok International Fashion Week 2013.

Thai silk and a modernized take on traditional Asian fashion are longtime traits of the Nagara label, and this season Sampantarak chose to collaborate with legendary artist Thawan Duchanee, whose swirling, fierce prints show a darker side of Buddhism.  Indeed, the Nagara show consisted of several acts, with the men simultaneously displaying defiance in their warrior-like stylings and a bit of vulnerability due to the delicate nature of the materials.  For the both the men and women, silk was crumpled, stretched, cinched and pleated in a wide kaleidoscope of colors, then finished with vibrant embroideries, dyes and even hand-painted details.  In most cases, the use of strobe lighting in pure darkness in a fashion show would frustrate the spectator, but here it created a dramatic effect, with the flashbulb hauntingly emphasizing an occasional detail, such as a large face staring from a bouncing pleated cape.

The most memorable moment of the show occurred when a female model clad in an off-the-shoulder white evening gown with a cascading train adorned with large, gold swirling patterns, slowly and deliberately took the runway.  Joining her was a male model in matching attire, emphasized by a cream vest with silver and gold embroideries cinched with an orange belt.  To those unfamiliar with Thai pop culture, the scene resembled a wedding that confidently went ahead without an officiator.  To those cheering in the audience, the two models were none other than Barry Nadech Kugimiya (ณเดชน์ คูกิมิยะ) (at 21, already one of the highest-paid actor-models in Thailand) and Yaya Urassaya Sperbund (อุรัสยา เสปอร์บันด์) (also a top actress-model).  The two have played a romantic on-screen couple in several lakorn (Thai soap operas), and rumors abound that the two are – or, at least should be – a real-life item as well.

Art imitating life imitating art?  Quite a show, indeed.

Photos: Nagara – Bangkok International Fashion Week 2013
all photos by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine

Video: Nagara – Bangkok International Fashion Week 2013
video by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine