Thai designers can make clothes. They can make darned pretty clothes. In fact, they peddle prettiness perfectly. They aim to be delightful too, and charming, and certainly girlish, but they do not aim to be uncommon. This was the case at Stretsis, designed by Pim Sukhahuta, who had opened her first boutique even before graduating from Parson School of Design in 2003. The clothes, from before and hitherto, and like those from so many other Bangkok labels, had the joie de vivre and fluff that will delight women who only care about being feminine (and, yes, pretty) right there, right then, but they said little about fashion, especially for the individual whose life depended on it.
Individuality was certainly not the hallmark. A peaked-lapel Spencer jacket with tails worn over a sheer top with peplum, and pleated shorts may look cute in A Chorus Line sort of way, but they had hardly covetable distinctness. Check the dresses: a one-shoulder black mini with white puffed, vertically petalled sleeve or a square-necked abbreviated tunic or a Peter Pan-collared, tiered number did not increase the rate of your pulse.
The collection was named “Metamorphosis” and, according to the brand’s own description, is “the evident transformation from one silhouette to another embrances the curious process and the beauty of incompleteness”. Whatever it meant, it was also misleading. The silhouettes appeared similar: skirts lengths alone did not vary. “Evident transformation…”? Show me the evidence! “Incompleteness”? It’s the metamorphosis that was incomplete!
If frills (i.e. flounces and ruffs) offer no substance, then the show itself may add value. Unfortunately, the staging, with models appearing from five revolving doors that were synchronised with the annoying soundtrack of doors slammed shut (or was it yanked opened?), was, after two groups of clothes, too much to watch. When the revolving doors were done, the models emerged, in groups of five to pose, mannequin-like, before the audience. An over-choreographed show to suit the over-designed clothes.