5 Thailand Tatler Female Fashion Icons Explain Their Style In A Single Photo
Seasoned society belle and fashion aficionado Intira Thanavisuth has been outshining contemporary stars and newcomers to Thailand’s haut monde firmament for decades with her sense of style. Her love of fashion began in early childhood and, like many a young girl, she was playing at dressing up long before her teenage years. “I would go to the same tailor as my mother,” she reminisces. “I started to accompany my parents to balls from the age of 12 or 13, so I suppose I had a heightened awareness of fashion from quite early on,” she explains.
Describing her style as eccentric, Intira admits she doesn’t do fads and trends. “I make a point of not buying whatever is currently popular. One’s style should be unique.” She wears established designer brands but has also been seen in clothes by American designers Rick Owens and Rosie Assoulin, Canadian-Turkish designer Erdem Moralioglu and English designer Richard Quinn.
When asked to choose a photograph of herself that best illustrates her look, she picks an image taken on a trip to Jaipur in northern India in which she is wearing an opulent Valentino dress and Gucci cloak complemented by a Chanel hair accessory and a vintage bag. “I went for a friend’s birthday party and it was winter and surprisingly cold, but I felt so confident and comfortable and warm in that outfit, not to mention elegant. It is the way all women want to feel.”
I make a point of not buying whatever is currently popular. One’s style should be unique.
This foodie and fashionista is the former head of Christian Dior in Thailand and today runs the highly successful Nara group of restaurants. She first dipped a toe in the world of fashion while studying in the United States. “I was young and a party animal while at Boston University,” she laughs. “Everybody had fun dressing up. It was a time when everything seemed inconsequential and frivolous. My parents were very generous with my allowance so I was able to indulge my passions for fashion and shopping with clothing from brands such as Moschino, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana. Their apparel always brings back vivid memories for me.”
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As she has grown older the businesswoman says her tastes have changed. “For example, I have become a big fan of the laid-back chic of Zimmerman and I adore the couture of Moo Polpat Asavaprapha’s ASAVA label. Today I also tend to prefer classic block colours to prints and tailored lines over whimsy.”
When asked to choose the photo she is most proud of, it is gratifying when she picks the image of herself that featured on the cover of this year’s edition of Thailand Tatler’s annual Society publication, in which she appeared as one of Asia’s most stylish women. “We flew to Hong Kong for the photoshoot. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience so I wanted to wear something by a Thai designer. I fell in love with this red dress by ASAVA on sight. Moo happens to be a dear friend of mine and his beautiful clothes suit me,” Sirisopa explains.
We flew to Hong Kong for the photoshoot. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience so I wanted to wear something by a Thai designer.
— Sirisopa Chulasewok
Mother of three grown children and a grandmother of one, Araya Kanchanapongkula arrives for our chat wearing a short black Balmain dress with structured shoulders and chain embellishments, a look she carries off as only an experienced fashionista can. Sporting her signature short hair and immaculate eye make-up, she is unashamedly candid about her style. “I don’t really care what people say. I don’t know why but the older I get the more I love to dress up,” she giggles.
In terms of her introduction to fashion, Araya recalls her time as a schoolgirl at Saint Joseph Convent. “Thailand didn’t have brand names back then. Even fashion magazines had to be brought in from overseas. But we did get the teen magazine Seventeen, and I would study the clothes pictured in it and then buy fabrics from Chinatown to recreate the pieces.” It is a passion that has never left her and one she shares with her middle child, son Kirati, who acts as her personal stylist.
I don’t really care what people say. I don’t know why but the older I get the more I love to dress up.
— Araya Kanchanapongkula
The photo Araya picks of herself was taken by well-known fashion photographer Wasan Puengprasert. It was snapped via a special arrangement with Lanvin before the brand’s Bangkok store closed down. In the image Araya looks elegance personified in a long black Lanvin dress with two items she couldn’t leave home without—earrings and a watch. “I love this picture because I think I look great in it,” she laughs. “I think the most important thing for a woman to have is confidence, regardless of her age. True beauty radiates from within and I felt beautiful through and through wearing that dress.”
I feel just as beautiful wearing a rugby shirt and denim as I do wearing a fitted evening gown.
— Tirawan Taechaubol
Hotel and property group heiress Tirawan Taechaubol says she was surprised at just how quickly notorious American fashion photographer Terry Richardson worked. “He photographed me in a collaboration with Central Embassy back in 2015. It was over so quickly and I remember thinking it would be all wrong. But you know what, it turned out to be the best portrait shot I’ve ever taken. I wore a beige Missoni dress, striking red lipstick and sunglasses from Cutler and Gross. That image ended up on billboards and the sides of skyscrapers all over town. You should have seen the look on my father’s face when it first appeared,” she says with infectious laughter.
Undoubtedly a fashion icon, Tirawan admits she wasn’t much of a fashionista in her younger years but began experimenting with outfits and looks once she got to college. “I have always liked wearing something casual but versatile enough to embellish with details. And I think my concept of beauty has changed over time. I mean I feel just as beautiful wearing a rugby shirt and denim as I do wearing a fitted evening gown. That said, I never tire of shopping although I don’t go in for ultra-feminine apparel. I own a lot of white T-shirts because they go with almost any look,” she laughs.
A fan of Missoni, Lanvin, Chanel and Giambattista Valli among other brands, this It Girl has settled down since marriage to husband Ben and the birth of their son Tej, but when she does choose to gussy up and hit the town her natural poise and chic look invariably catch the eye.
PR industry professional Suporntip Choungrangsee, better known as Tippy, says she inherited her fashion sense from her mother. “She was a humble dresser really and people back in those days barely had access to the big brands. Women had to be creative with their looks, mixing, matching, re-tailoring garments and so on to maintain the style of the day,” she says. Her own obsession with fashion really took off when she went to study at UCLA in California. “I think I spent more time wandering Rodeo Drive than I did at school,” she laughs. “Back then I was in love with brands like Chanel, Hermès and Moschino. But as a student, I could only afford basic items such as a scarf or a plain white shirt.”
I adore Chanel. Such elegance. If I could choose to dine with any fashion icon, past or present, it would be Coco herself.
— Suporntip Choungrangsee
Today Tippy is in a position to wear the best of haute couture. “I love fine clothes but keep my wardrobe minimal with pieces I can wear for years and years to come,” says the former co-founder of PR agencies 124 Communications and Branded The Agency. Also a director of the English Premier League football club Leicester City, she has an eye for design and has produced her own jewellery through her Tippy, Tippy and Little Pink Rabbit brands.
Her favourite photo was taken when she was living in London. “Praew magazine asked to document a day with me, and it was only then I really got to explore the city!” she laughs. In her picture, she rocks an assortment of pieces from different Chanel collections. “I adore Chanel. Such elegance. If I could choose to dine with any fashion icon, past or present, it would be Coco herself.”
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