FLAIR FOR FASHION

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Published on May 02, 2017 with No Comments

Fans of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, Queen Dowager of Thailand, have the chance to observe up close and personal some of her most regal attire.

Words GRACE ADAMS
ImagesQUEEN SIRIKIT MUSEUM

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Fit For A Queen: Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s Creations by Balmain opened in August 2016 at the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles in Bangkok. Since then, locals, tourists and fans of Her Majesty have been visiting the museum for a close-up look of her regal wardrobe.

The museum curated the exhibition in honour of the auspicious occasion of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s seventh cycle birthday anniversary on August 12, 2016. Fit For A Queen focuses on the 22-year-long working relationship between Her Majesty and French couturier Pierre Balmain. In 1960, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit embarked on a historic state visit to 15 Western nations. The tour was the West’s formal introduction to the youthful royal couple. Her Majesty had determined that she would need a fashionable yet seasonally appropriate Western wardrobe for the six month-long tour, and engaged renowned Paris couturier Pierre Balmain to design it.

Balmain proved to be an excellent choice, creating a regal wardrobe – much of it made from Thai silk – for Her Majesty. His exquisite attention to detail can be seen reflected in the exhibited wardrobe and handiwork – with exquisite embroidering, intricate beading and use of gorgeous lace. Thus elegantly attired, Her Majesty garnered tremendous interest and acclaim, which contributed greatly to the tour’s success. The trip established the Queen as an international tastemaker and the era’s epitome of royal style. Balmain, along with François Lesage, who had provided the embroidery for Her Majesty’s formal clothes, remained closely involved with the development of Her Majesty’s style. Balmain designed the Western-style clothes for Her Majesty’s continued international travels, and he and Lesage soon began to make the Queen’s Thai national dresses as well.

From the early 1970s onwards, Balmain and Lesage’s work extended to developing strategies to transform Thai village silks into fashionable Western attire, which was worn by Her Majesty to promote the work of her SUPPORT Foundation. The exhibition will offer visitors
the chance to view more than 30 of Her Majesty’s most stylish daytime, cocktail and evening dresses, plus related accessories and several pieces of luggage custom made by
Louis Vuitton for Their Majesties, which were never before displayed.

Design sketches and embroidery swatches lent by Balmain S.A. and the House of Lesage in Paris will help illuminate the design and creation processes. The exhibition is further enriched by period footage and photographs. A lavishly illustrated catalogue has also been published in Thai and English in partnership with Bangkok-based River Books. The museum is located inside the Grand Palace complex in Bangkok. The exhibition will run through June 2018.

 

 

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