By Tali Jaffe
Thakoon Panichgul has been a formidable force in American fashion almost since his very first collection, which was shown almost seven years ago. Anna Wintour was quick to support the brand and with that ever important nod, Panichgul’s career was on a skyward trajectory with little signs of slowing down.
In town to launch his Resort 2013 collection at Saks Fifth Avenue—the first season from the Collection line to be carried at the Bal Harbour store—we stole a few minutes with the designer to discuss his clients, his famous prints and his plans for a warm weekend in Miami.
It must be nice to take a little break in Miami after Sandy. Were you affected?
I was in my house upstate, but when I got back to the city, I found my lobby completely flooded. It looked like some sort of zombie apocalypse! But when disasters happen in New York you actually connect with people... and then it goes back to normal you all disconnect again.
So what do you have planned for your weekend here?
Today I’m spending the day here at Bal Harbour. I’ll meet with some of my customers at Saks and then we’ll have a cocktail reception this evening.
Tell me about your Miami clients.
We have a really great customer base with Saks. We’ve been at Saks in New York for three years and we’ve been building a loyal customer following season after season. We’ve had Addition down here for a few seasons, but this is the first season we’re launching the main runway collection here with Resort.
And what do your customers respond to the most?
The customer here is special because they’re so transient. They’re South American, they’re Russian, they’re Chinese they’re from all over. They’re not just strictly a warm climate kind of a person, but they respond well to warm climate dressing. What I do is inherently transitional weather clothes. We obviously have great coats and heavier pieces, but our core is the silk dresses and the cotton pieces.
I think the connection we have with the customer here is the print story and the color story that I love to do. But to me design is about giving the customer something they love, but also something new to discover.
You mentioned that Addition has been carried here for a few seasons. Is that like your diffusion line?
I kind of hate the word diffusion. Addition has its own great story. It’s a capsule. It’s its own approach to the Thakoon aesthetic. It has an individual story. It began as additional pieces to the main collection, but then it became so big that we had to spin it off into its own collection.
You’ve also done a lot of collaborations over the last seven years.
I think collaborations are the future of the fashion landscape. The customer likes it; they like to buy designer and contemporary. They wear expensive tops with their jeans. I think collaboration is the next evolution. It’s fun and exciting. It’s the right kind of energy.
And will we be seeing a new collab next year?
We’re constantly being approached, but right now I’m staying focused on the main collections, and building out or brand even more. We have a strong following and I want to make sure I’m serving that base. So nothing planned for next year… but of course there are potentials for the following year.