For a long time, Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana was mainly known as an athlete in badminton and dressage. She competed several times as a member of the Thai badminton team. In 2005, at the 23rd Southeast Asian games, her team won gold. Her accomplishments in dressage are celebrated, too, having captained the Thai equestrian team at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea last year. She has been an active horse-rider since childhood, though her interest in international competitions has peaked only within the last few years. She was strongly identified with her passion for horseback riding, and the country rallied behind her at each event.
Come Fashion Week-season, however, a different side of Her Royal Highness is revealed: she is also widely known as the creative director behind her eponymous label, SIRIVANNAVARI. Since her debut collection in 2007 at Paris Fashion Week, she has been launching collections regularly to the delight of the public and fashion world figures. She is regularly spotted (and widely photographed) at the top fashion events donning cutting-edge fashion.
Here are our favourite parts of our interview with Her Royal Highness – the full article is available in Prestige Thailand’s September 2015 edition.
1. What are your sources of inspiration in your design work?
It’s really the stories I see around me, the things I see and experience; books; how I feel when I think, as well as various types of experimentation. By experimentation I mean my paintings, designs and written work. [My inspiration] comes from reading and seeking things out. I observe a lot and consume a lot – and by consume I mean consuming works of art, historical works, books and poetry. It’s not as if I go to a museum and am [instantly] inspired. I consume and then analyse as well… Having a wide range of knowledge – this has resulted in the creation of many designs.
2. What do you think is the biggest challenge in designing clothes?
Time. There is so little time, for one. Another is the [fashion] seasons. The responses from the target groups in the market can make me feel doubtful; for instance, the Western market’s tastes are one thing, and the Thai market is another; alongside of the economy, it can be confusing. It’s a little challenging, but this is an issue that can be solved.
What bothers me most, however, is the issue of time – which cannot be solved… There are solutions for every other issue, but time is something that’s simply part of nature – time doesn’t wait for us. It just passes. There’s barely enough time to sleep, and it’s tiring to have to travel too!
3. What is luxury, from your own point of view?
For myself personally, luxury isn’t specifically jewels or jewellery, high-end cars, or anything like that. For me, style is luxury. My look – sort of hipster – is luxury. It’s sophistication. It’s personality. It’s attitude. It’s you – your knowledge, your intelligence, being wholly complete…
Using brands well is another [luxury]. You cannot follow every single Louis Vuitton collection. But you can know what the signature look of the brand has been from the beginning, its history, and pieces that stay with you for a long time. I have used Louis Vuitton luggage until they fell apart – rumpled and torn and broken. It’s the things you use in your daily life – things that have beautiful style, and can be used alongside the more expensive things.
4. So luxury isn’t about high-value items, it’s to do with how to select pieces?
If I had wanted to be just about luxury brands, there would be no end – my bank account would be empty!
5. What are the qualities of an ideal designer?
They should always be on the move. They should be able find many different answers to a single question. They should know how to think, and have style. They should know how to apply their ideas. They should also be quite energetic.
6. What are you thinking about designing for your next collection?
I’m not telling! I’m working on it (laughs)!
7. What would you like to say to the readers of Prestige?
I hope you all enjoy reading this, first of all. Thank you for following my work, and thank you for understanding the brand and understanding me more. Thank you to the magazine for giving me the chance to share this all with you.
Photography: Vatcharasith Wichyanrat
Styling: Masiri Tamsakul
Makeup: Thamrongrat Wararak
Hair: Somporn Tirin
Production: Kanda Charanawat
Coordination: Jinda Wedel and Pynnita Komin
Venue: The Siam Hotel