A Chat With The Met Gala’s First Thai Attendee: Nichapat Suphap
Three weeks on and 'fashion's biggest night out' is still as prevalent now as it was Monday the 6th. The highly exclusive event was nothing short of a camp extravaganza with a plethora of star-studded guests to adorn from afar. A certain guest that stood out to us most, however, was one with very familiar roots. Enter: Nichapat Suphap. The first Thai woman to ever grace the gala steps.
Despite surfacing from humble beginnings, Nichapat is a now-familiar face on the global fashion circuit. "How?" You may ask. Well, we already did.
First of all, congratulations on being The Met’s first Thai guest!
Thank you! I still pinch myself every day. I’m 33 years old, I come from a small country, how did I attend the biggest, most glamorous event in fashion? It was always a dream of mine, but I never thought it could be possible.
Why is that?
To make it, you either had to have a beautiful face or a famous last name, and I had neither. I don’t fit the typical standards of Thai beauty. When I was younger, I would never dare to tell people I wanted to work in fashion because it would seem laughable. So to be the first person of my country to attend, it's amazing. It's important to say though that it definitely didn't fall into my lap. I worked very hard.
How did you break out of that negative mindset and enter fashion?
I watched Sex and the City and instantly Carrie Bradshaw was my inspiration. That show was what generated my interest in the fashion world. When you’re born and raised in Thailand, it’s hard to break through with no name or an ideal look of beauty. So, I moved to New York when I was 21. I started an internship with Alberta Ferretti, then moved to Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney and Vogue US. I explored the different facets of fashion and discovered the ones I enjoyed. The whole reason I wanted to work in fashion was that I wanted to attend fashion shows. You could only attend shows if you were a buyer or an editor. My English writing wasn’t great, so I thought, “Fine, I’ll be a buyer.” From there, I delved up a strong network and made a lot of friends.
And now you’re a contributing editor for Vogue Thailand and a renowned entrepreneur. What else do you do?
I have a consulting business where I grow fashion brands. It includes image consultancy and image architecture. Whether it’s a brand, celebrity or makeup artist, I help them with strategic planning and help them grow their profile internationally. We just launched a company in Thailand last month called The Creator. I also invest in art and real estate.
Let’s discuss your dress this year. It was stunning!
I've worked hard to earn a place at the Met. It wasn't always definite that I was going. Whilst I was flying from Milan to New York, the opportunity arose and I was asked, "do you want the ticket or not?" There was only a five-hour window to decide. Of course, I said yes and as soon as I landed, I thought, “Okay, I've got the ticket. Now who is going to do my dress?” I looked into a few options and all of a sudden Tomo [Koizumi] came out of nowhere during New York Fashion Week. His designs are extravagant and beautiful. I have to say though, I was very sceptical at the beginning because I’m not tall, I don’t look like Bella Hadid—how was I going to wear a huge fluffy dress? I did not want to become a meme.
I did not want to become a meme.
— Nichapat Suphap
How did you overcome that?
It didn’t happen all of a sudden. I’d been planning since February. It takes a long time of preparation for myself, my body and the dress as well. I had my vision. I was specific, and I knew what I wanted. Tomo sent me 10 sketches, and we took it from there. We worked very closely together on the gown to get it right. By the end of it, I was so happy with the result.
You said you had to prepare your body, how so?
I did not have the luxury of time, which basically meant I had to eat rabbit food and work out for two hours every day. One hour was cardio; the other was focused on pilates. I have really bad self-control when it comes to my diet, so my mum helped me a lot. She kept me on schedule and in-check.
What do you do during your downtime, when you’re not living and breathing fashion?
People think I live for fashion, but I don’t. Some days I wear sweatpants, go to the gym, relax and eat french fries at home. I'm not a pretentious person. I don't want to act like I constantly live a glamorous life. Yes, I just got back from a Louis Vuitton fashion show and yes, I'm going to go watch some reality television. Although I love the business side of fashion, during my downtime, I could probably pass by as a cleaning lady.
What is your secret to all of your success?
I would say strong determination. If I want something, I obsess over it and go and get it. That has been the strategy of my whole life. There is no elevator to success, only stairs. Some people are born lucky, and some people have to make it on their own. I built my own for myself. One of my goals in life is to be an inspiration, even if for just one person. I want to make a difference and show that nothing is impossible.
There is no elevator to success, only stairs.
— Nichapat Suphap
What’s next for you?
You may think I sound crazy, but I’d love to go into politics. I want to use the knowledge and experience that I have gained to do good for my country. I want to focus on helping the elderly as well as helping specifically the stray dogs in Thailand. I know I have the ability to raise funds and help in times of need and I will for sure keep my promise and do that.
Related: Best Dressed At The 2019 Met Gala