2012

Fashioning Tradition: Queen Sirikit Creates a National Dress for Thailand

Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles

Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles

Fashioning Tradition: Queen Sirikit Creates a National Dress for Thailand
tells the story of Her Majesty’s creation, in the 1960s, of a new national dress for Thai women through the presentation of historic court textiles, archival photographs and film, and more than thirty glittering examples from Her Majesty’s own wardrobe.  
Thai Phra Rajaniyom (“Royal Favor”)
Thai Reun Ton Dress

In 1960, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, accompanied by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, undertook a series of state visits to the United States and fifteen European nations lasting seven months. The tour was a tremendous success: Their Majesties were enthusiastically received everywhere and Her Majesty’s beauty and stylish elegance were widely acclaimed.

Thai Phra Rajaniyom (“Royal Favor”)
Thai Chitralada Dress 

Her Majesty knew that when abroad, She would be representing both Thailand and Thai women. Thus, in addition to Western high fashion, Her Majesty wished Her wardrobe to contain Thai styles that would convey the country’s unique cultural identity.

Thai Phra Rajaniyom (“Royal Favor”)
Thai Amarin Dress 

However, court dress had steadily westernised since the mid-19th century and in 1941 the government issued a decree requiring all Thais to wear Western clothing. As a result, post-war Thailand had no national dress equivalent to India’s sari or Japan’s kimono—it would have to be created.

Thai Phra Rajaniyom (“Royal Favor”)
Thai Siwalai Dress (Thai Boromphiman with a shoulder cloth)

Preparations for the tour began nearly two years in advance. Her Majesty assembled a team of consultants and advisors that included historians, prominent ladies of the court, Her longtime Thai fashion designer

Thai Phra Rajaniyom (“Royal Favor”)
Thai Boromphiman Dress

Drawing on diverse sources, including surviving court textiles and photographs of women of the court taken between 1850 and 1925, the team created a group of dresses based upon the wrapped and draped styles Thai women had traditionally worn—hip wrappers (phaa nung) and shoulder cloths (sabai)—but constructed according to Western dressmaking techniques. The result, as can be seen in this gallery, was a new national dress designed to honour the past while conveying a practical, modern Thai identity.

Thai Phra Rajaniyom (“Royal Favor”)
Thai Chakri Dress
Thai Phra Rajaniyom (“Royal Favor”)
Thai Dusit Dress
Thai Phra Rajaniyom (“Royal Favor”)
Thai Siwalai Dress
Thai Phra Rajaniyom (“Royal Favor”)
Thai Chakrapat Dress
The story of Her Majesty's creation , in the 1960s, of a new national dress for Thai women through the presentation of historic court textiles, archival photographs and film, and more than thirty glittering examples from Her Majesty's own wardrobe.
Credits: Story

Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles Staff

Advisors:
Mr. Kullawit Laosuksri, Mr. Boonchai Thongcharoenbourngam, Mr. Paothong Thongchua, Mrs. Mayuri Veraprasert, Mr. Weeradhamma Taragoonngernthai, Mr. Sappasit Foongfuangchaveng, Mr. Anucha Thirakanont

Lead Consultants:
Ms. Melissa Leveton, Ms. Dale Carolyn Gluckman, Ms. Julia M. Brennan

Gallery and Facilities Design and Fabrication:
Ms. Nita Yuvaboon, Imrey Culbert LP, Tillotson Design Associates, MGMT design, Innovision, Goppion S.p.A, Royal Goldsmith, Final Cut, Ovation Studio, Plan Motif Vichai Trading(1986)

Photography:
Mr.Anak Navaraj, Mr. Nat Prakobsantisuk

Special Thanks to:
Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary, Bureau of the Royal Household, Office of Her Majesty's Private Secretary, Office of H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's Personal Affairs Division, Supplementary Occupations Programme Division, The SUPPORT Foundation, Sirikit Institute, The Crown Property Bureau

Sponsors:
Krungthai Bank
Boon Rawd Brewery Co., Ltd,
The Support Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand
Mr.Charoen and Khunying Wanna Sirivadhanabhakdi
Mr. Somsak and Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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