Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana: Thai Fashion Designer

Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, born in 1987, is a young and accomplished fashion designer in Thailand and very much appreciated for her fabulous look. Not only is she of royal descent, being the daughter of Crown Prince Maha Vajralongkorn and Sujarinee Vivacharawongse, but she is also known for her impeccable style. talent and beauty.

Princess Sirivannavari

Dressed in style, Princess Sirivannavari*

Dressed in style, Princess Sirivannavari*

Hence, she secured her place in the Forbes list of Top 20 royal beauties. Her style is Western and very modern but she also incorporates and combines elements of traditional Thai dresses in her fashion. Her greatest inspiration is her grandmother H.M. Queen Sirikit who is also known as the ‘Queen of Thai Silk’.

Sirivannavari Narirat*

Sirivannavari Narirat*

The Princess enjoys wearing clothes of renowned fashion designers like Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier and Balmain. Her clothing style can be described as daring and she never wears a look twice. Thus, she stands out in the royal circle. For instance, ‘Princess Siri’, as she is sometimes called in the press, was seen wearing bold thigh-length cut gowns and black lipstick. Hence, her appearance is stunning and flamboyant. In addition, she combines modernity with traditional Thai culture.

Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana

‘Princess Siri’ (photo credit: watroyal.blogspot.de)

What is more, she is also very sportive, having been an international Badminton competitor in the 23rd South East Asian Games in 2005, winning a team gold.

The Princess has studied fashion and textile design in the Faculty of Fine and Applied Art at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. Hence, her career as a fashion designer began in 2007 when she was invited by the French couturier Pierre Balmain to present her fashion show in Paris.

The princess as model*

The princess as model*

In this show, she presented traditional Thai clothing with a modern twist, thus drawing on memories of her grandmother H.M. Queen Sirikit who was a devoted customer of the couturier Pierre Balmain. Hence, her show was appropriately called ‘Presence of the Past’ and it is based on a very harmonious concept combining Thai elegance with contemporary fashion.

Take a look at her fashion profile in this video 🙂

Princess Sirivannavari chooses classic fabrics like silk and brocades for her fashion design. Hence, she also draws on traditional Thai craftsmanship like beetle-wing art to embellish clutch bags and shoes, for instance. In addition, her logo is the peacock which is a royal symbol and thus symbolic of good luck.

Here are some further impressions of her last year’s spring/summer fashion show at Siam Paragon. I dare say this collection is quite ‘futuristic’, however, I also spot some traditional elements here.

Finally, we may say that Princess Sirivannavari is very flamboyant and exotic and so is her fashion design. However, it is also very Thai. What is more, we can claim that the Princess, similar to her grandmother H.M. Queen Sirikit, represents the elegance and richness of the royal court.

Yours, Sirinya

*photo credit: Sirivannavari narirat, FB page

Traditional Thai Dresses Part II

Following the first part of my article about traditional Thai dresses, I’d like to continue with the remaining four styles. In the previous post on traditionalistic Thai dresses I have presented the Thai Chakkri, Thai Boromphiman, Thai Siwalai and Thai Chakkraphat to you. Thus, I’d like to continue with the fifth one called Chut Thai Chitlada.

Traditional Thai Dresses

5. Chut Thai Chitlada

Chitlada is a daytime ceremonial dress. Hence, it is worn on formal occasions such as welcoming royal guests at the airport. The Chut Chitlada can be worn with a long sleeved buttoned silk blouse. The skirt (Pha-Noong) is a casual wrap skirt that has a brocaded band at the hem. It is not necessary to wear royal decorations with this style. However, the colour of the dress should be appropriate for the respective occasion.

thai chitraladaThai Chitlada dress*

6. Chut Thai Ruean Ton

The Chut Thai Ruean Ton is the most casual style of all eight traditional designs presented here. It is most often worn at non-official functions, for example for the religious ceremony of the conferring of royal offerings to the monks (Khtin ton). The Thai Ruan Ton comprises a collarless buttoned blouse and a striped or plain coloured skirt (Pha-Noong) with a patterned band at the hem. This is sometimes folded to one side. The Chut Ruean Ton is a two piece dress which means that the blouse and the skirt are separate.

thai ruean ton dressthai ruean ton dressThai Ruean Ton dresses*

7. Chut Thai Amarin

The Chut Amarin or Amarintra is a beautiful formal evening gown. It is made of brocaded fabric and ornaments. The blouse is usually round-necked and the skirt (Pha-Noong) is ankle length. With this style, royal decorations are worn. The Thai Amarin is a dress for an evening dinner or the Royal Birthday Procession.

thai amarin dressthai amarin dressThai Amarin dresses*

8. Chut Thai Dusit

Dusit is the most Western style of all eight traditional dresses presented here. It is a wide necked and sleeveless brocaded dress. The skirt and top are sown together so that they form a one piece dress. The Chut Thai Dusit can be worn for evening ceremonies in place of a Western style dress. For this kind of dress, Yok silk fabric is used. The Dusit can be either worn with Thai or Western style jewellery.

thai dusit dressqueen sirikit wearing thai dusit dress Thai Dusit dress & HM Queen Sirikit in Chut Thai Dusit around 1950*

I really enjoyed researching about Thai traditional dresses and since I have not been to the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles in Bangkok, this place is on my top priority list next time I have the chance to go there 🙂

Finally, I’d like to close this article with a picture of little me in a traditional dress 😉

Little Sirinya in traditional Thai dressThis is probably the casual Thai Ruean Ton style

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Do you also like these dresses as much as I do?

Traditional Thai dresses

Traditional Thai dresses featured in this post (photo credit: bangkokpost.com)

In case, you’ve missed my first part of Thai traditional dresses, check this out here! Did you know that there is also a traditional make up look that goes well with traditional Thai dresses? What is more, it is also interesting to note that today the Siamese Fashionista group tries to encourage young Thais to dress traditionally.

Yours, Sirinya

(*All photos in this post are from the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles unless otherwise stated, a further source about traditional dresses in Thailand is here)


Traditional Thai Dresses Part I

Ever since I was little, I have been fascinated by the amazingly gorgeous traditional Thai dresses. The Thai national or traditional dress is called ‘Chut Thai phra ratcha niyom’ (ชุดไทยพระราชนิยม) in Thai which means ‘Thai dress of royal endorsement’. This kind of dress (chut Thai) is commonly worn on formal occasions as national costume.

traditional dresses at Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles

Traditional Thai dresses at the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, Bangkok, Thailand*

Today we can distinguish between eight different styles of Thai national dresses. They are said to have originated in the mid 20th century. In fact, when HM Queen Sirikit accompanied the King in state visits to Western countries in 1960, she realized the need for a modern national costume. Thus, Queen Sirikit had research conducted concerning historical records of royal dresses. Consequently, eight official designs were developed and also promoted by HM Queen Sirikit herself.

I will focus on traditional (national) Thai dresses for women but of course there are also national attire for men. I have divided this article into two parts, simply because there is so much material and information. Hence, I think it is better to have smaller ‘bites’ 😉

Traditional Thai dresses

Traditional Thai dresses featured in this post (photo credit: bangkokpost.com)

Traditional Thai Dresses

1. Chut Thai Chakkri

Chut Thai Chakkri is a very formal and elegant dress. This kind of garment is usually produced by using the Yok weaving technique. A special feature of the Yok weaving method is that it creates additional thickness within the fabrics without adding extra threads. In the Chakkri Style, the ‘Pha-Sin’, that is the ‘Pha-Noong’ or skirt, is a full length wrap skirt. This skirt has two pleated folds in front which are called ‘Na- Nang’.

chakkri style Thai dresschakkri style Thai dressChakkri style dresses*

Traditional Thai dress, Chakkri (photo credit: Amat Nimitpark)

Traditional Thai dress, Chakkri (photo credit: Amat Nimitpark)

2. Chut Thai Boromphiman

Like Thai Chakkri, Thai Boromphiman is also a formal evening attire. It can be worn in formal ceremonies and royal functions. The Boromphiman comprises a long sleeved round necked buttoned blouse which is tucked beneath the ankle length ‘Pha-Noong’ skirt with its front pleats (‘Na-Nang’). The blouse and the skirt are sown together so that they form a one piece traditional dress. The Boromphiman is made of brocaded fabrics in order to create a very luxurious appearance.

thai boromphiman dressthai boromphiman dressBoromphiman dresses*

3. Chut Thai Siwalai

The Thai Siwalai is a formal evening gown similar to the Boromphiman and the Chakkri. The only difference between these Thai traditional dresses is that the Siwalai has a shawl draped over the long- sleeved blouse. This shawl is also called ‘sbai’ in Thai. Chut Thai Siwalai is worn in royal ceremonies and other formal occasions. By the way, the term siwalai was derived from the English word ‘civilized’.

thai siwalai dressqueen sirikit in thai siwalai dress

Thai Siwalai dress & HM Queen Sirikit in Thai Siwalai dress around 1950*

4. Chut Thai Chakkraphat

First of all, it is important to mention that ‘Chakkraphat’ means emperor in Thai language. Hence, Thai Chakkraphat is an official and conservative traditional dress with a shawl similar to Chakkri. Nevertheless, it appears even more put together than the Thai Chakkri dress because the shawl is thicker, richly embroidered and decorated with beautiful ornaments. It can be worn in royal or national ceremonies.

thai chakraphat, thai traditional dress of queen sirikit of thailandthai chakkraphat dress

Thai Chakkraphat dresses*

In the following part, I will feature the remaining four styles of traditional Thai dresses. Hence, stay tuned if you like these amazingly beautiful garments! Or click here to check it out immediately 🙂 It is also interesting to note that today the Siamese Fashionista group tries to encourage young Thais to dress traditionally.

Yours, Sirinya

(*All photos in this post are from the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles unless otherwise stated, a further source about traditional dresses in Thailand is here)