9th Celebration of Silk: Thai Silk Road to the World 2019 (Part 2 out of 2)

Issue : Elite Performance

2nd International Thai Silk Fashion Week 18 – 23 November 2019  (Part 2 out of 2)

by Kathleen Pokrud


[Continue from the part one....................]


9th Celebration of Silk:  Thai Silk Road to the World 2019


Kawtar HILAL (Morocco)

Mrs. Kawtar HILAL is a talented women’s wear designer.  Growing up watching a sophisticated and elegant Moroccan mother designing traditional garments for master artisans in their ateliers, designing caftans (traditional Moroccan men’s tunics) became her passion. Her attuned eye for artistry makes her fashion brand “Libass by HF” the touch of sophistication, traditional yet glamorous.


Mrs. Kawtar  Hilal felt very privileged to represent her country for the first time at the Thai Silk event. “I believe that my participation reflects the strength of Moroccan and Thai relations.”  “Thai Silk is an unique fabric that represents Thai identity and culture as well as the beauty of the Thai people.” She went on to say, “The Thai Silk helped me in my approach in designing a fresh and original collection without forgetting the luxurious and regal history that compliments the aesthetics of these pieces.”


Mrs. Kawtar Hilal explained, “I am always inspired by my surroundings and the culture of the Kingdom of Morocco, our tiling, stone carvings and henna designs, which are absorbed into my ideas for each collection.” She reflected that while designing the collection for this event, “I got my inspiration from the rich heritage of the Moroccan techniques in tailoring and the beauty of Thailand, the shared cordiality between the Moroccan and Thai peoples and also from the Thai smile.”


9th Celebration of Silk:  Thai Silk Road to the World 2019


When asked about her impression of the Bangkok fashion scene, Mrs. Kawtar Hilal believes, “The city has emerged as a true fashion hub in a global scale. Talented, young and up-and-coming Thai designers are being nurtured as their collections are now found along with those from top international fashion houses at most of the city's upmarket malls.”


To conclude, Mrs. Kawtar Hilal wished to congratulate the organizers for such a high-class, international event.  Thailand has succeeded in leading “Silk Diplomacy” by promoting the cross-cultural exchange between Thailand and participating countries.  She offered special thanks to HE Ambassador Abdelilah El Housni of His Majesty the King of Morocco and his dream team for her successful participation.

Credit: FaceBook:@LIBASSMODE


9th Celebration of Silk:  Thai Silk Road to the World 2019


Kiri Nathan (New Zealand)

Kiri Nathan has been described as one of New Zealand’s most important current fashion designers. She is a recipient of New Zealand’s prestigious BLAKE Leadership Award and was named the 2019 Māori Business Woman of the Year.  Her husband, Jason Nathan, creates KN Pounamu Jewellery to complement the KN label.


KIRI NATHAN (KN), is a high-end fashion label that lives and breathes unique, innovative designs that reflect the cultural and natural beauty of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Kiri’s designs are inspired by the strength and beauty of New Zealand and Māoridom. She shared, “My vision is to deliver Māori fashion in cultural and business excellence. Our label KN is the first New Zealand fashion label to be invited to the London fashion week international showcase.  I have personally met and presented Taonga to President Barack Obama and Beyoncé.”


When reflecting on her handling with Thai silk, Kiri said, “This is my first time experiencing Thai silk, and I immediately fell in love with its cultural history, revitalisation and celebration of traditional practices.  The structure of the material can create drama in a unique way, different from other silks. I found Thai silk to be durable, and its crispness creates beautiful seams and edging.  Thai Silk has provided many WOW moments throughout our collection. It has created light, voluminous silhouettes and textured weaves.


9th Celebration of Silk:  Thai Silk Road to the World 2019


On combining her country heritage with Thai silk, Kiri excitedly recalled, “The vision was to have a true bi-cultural interaction, to utilise the stunning hand woven Thai silk by weaving it into accessorised shrugs, shawls and necklines.  I have even saved all the unused threads from this project to be woven into new pieces so nothing is wasted.


Based on the population, unique consumerism and financial capability of Bangkok, Kiri believes that the city has tremendous potential to evolve into a major fashion hub.  She thanked the organizer for their strong support, in terms of logistics and her individual fashion show.  “The models were outstanding; the backstage support was impeccable.” She further added, “I wish to highlight that Ambassador Taha and Madame Christina Macpherson are incredible people, and I deeply appreciate their exceptional support.”

Credit: www.kirinathan.com



9th Celebration of Silk:  Thai Silk Road to the World 2019


Mohammad Mehdi (Pakistan)

Mohammad Mehdi figures prominently in Pakistan’s fashion industry with his cutting edge contemporary style coloured with shades of tradition and culture. His brand is synonymous with creativity, quality and excellence. With a number of international shows and fashion weeks to his credit, Mehdi has done Pakistan proud on catwalks around the globe.


November was a busy month for bridal events.  The perfect timing brought the busy designer to Thailand for the first time to join the Thai Silk event on his way to fashion shows in the US.  Mehdi admitted that he realized he was a born artist at a very young age, experimenting with sculpture and mixing colors to create designs.  “This is my first time to work with Thai silk, and I found the fabrics quite challenging to work with.  The textile is hard compared to materials like chiffon, Chinese or Pakistani silk that we are used to.  The latter have more flow and are much softer.”  Mehdi finally found solutions by working with different procedures for dying, washing and drying. Once the challenges were solved, “We found that Thai silk actually comes to life, and the final outcome makes each garment stand out on its own perfectly.”


9th Celebration of Silk:  Thai Silk Road to the World 2019


His collection in Bangkok probed into a mixture of exotic colors and enticing designs, which reflect a very seductive imagination using an elaborate adornment of intricate embroidery incorporating beads, pearls and threads.


Having visited Bangkok a few times previously, Mehdi shared, “I believe that Bangkok has much to offer as a fashion hub.  Personally, I hope that the Thais will be more open to experience bright and glamorous colors.”   On the event itself, he said, “I have experienced the warm hospitality offered by the organizers since my arrival to Bangkok.  All arrangements were perfect and I am thankful for the opportunity to be part of this fantastic event.”

Credit: FaceBook: HouseOfMehdi


9th Celebration of Silk:  Thai Silk Road to the World 2019


Carlos Vigil (Peru)

Carlos Vigil from Lima, Peru is a 32-year veteran of the High Fashion industry.  As Creative Director of Atelier Carlos Vigil, his designs are one-of-a-kind for thousands of women in Peru and all around the globe.  He has proudly taken Peruvian fashion to the runways of New York, Paris and Dubai.  His clientele includes first ladies, congresswomen and celebrities.  Besides high fashion and bridal clothing, Carlos has also been a costume designer for TV, movies and theatres.


Growing up with eight siblings, he recalled that his aspirations to become a fashion designer when he was only nine years old.  Instead of cutting paper dolls, he would create paper dolls from fabric for his sisters.


His first time collection in Bangkok has brought real life to Thai silk fabrics with a creative blend of in exotic colors and exquisite embroideries mixing beads, pearls and threads. On Thai silk, Carlos commented, “I love Thai silk as the material feels raw and hard like satin silk, which makes it a very good material to make structured dresses.”  One of his dresses was selected as the backdrop display during the interview of the Thai Prime Minister about the event.


9th Celebration of Silk:  Thai Silk Road to the World 2019


Peru is a huge country with many traditions, and Carlos shared, “I combined the Peruvian paintings from the Andes Mountains with the Thai silk, as their colors matched perfectly together.  The collection created a storytelling of vibrant models coming up from the “Retablo”, a sophisticated Peruvian folk art in the form of portable boxes that tells of everyday events. 


Carlos unexpectedly found that Bangkok is a modern city with well-developed architecture. “I believe that Bangkok has great potential as a fashion hub, as the Thais are embracing their own culture while simultaneously looking to modern design.” He thanked the organizer immensely on the VIP treatment during his visit and excellent support.

Credit: FaceBook: Atelier Carlos Vigil


9th Celebration of Silk:  Thai Silk Road to the World 2019


Oliver Tolentino (Philippines)

Oliver Tolentino was born in the Philippines where he began his career twenty years ago.  In 2009, he became the first Filipino couture designer to expand to the US.  He has boutiques in Beverly Hills, California and Manila. Over 75 Hollywood celebrities have worn his dresses to the Academy, Golden Globe and Gammy Awards.  He is the first Filipino designer in 53 years to dress an Oscar winner at the Academy Awards.  He has shown in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Manila, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Palm Springs, The Bahamas and Barbados. His style is often described as “old Hollywood” elegance with sophisticated cuts, luxurious fabrics and couture finishings.


9th Celebration of Silk:  Thai Silk Road to the World 2019


This was the third time he participated in the Thai Silk Event.  Not unfamiliar with Thai silk, he has worked with the fabric since he was a young designer and has enjoyed using the material with its rich colors and texture.  Talking about his collection, he explained, “This year, I combined my Filipino heritage by creating a terno, our formal dress featuring butterfly sleeves, using Thai silk for Ambassador Mary Jo A. Bernardo Aragon to wear for the gala.  For my fashion show collection, I created dresses using Thai silk strips to create geometric designs.  I also combined piña (Philippine fabric from pineapple leaf fiber) with Thai silk.


Oliver loves Bangkok for its shopping scene.  When asked about his impression of Thailand as a fashion hub, he said, “I find Thais to be very creative, from architectural and interior design to food and fashion.  Bangkok is a very fashionable city, and I love visiting.”


Since participating in the first event when international designers were invited to showcase their work in Thai silk, Oliver has returned each year.  “I like the Thai Silk event very much. I hope to return many times to this wonderful city and country.”

Credit: FaceBook: OliverTolentino page



9th Celebration of Silk:  Thai Silk Road to the World 2019


Ozlem Suer (Turkey)

Ozlem Suer is a fashion designer and academic who is defined as an avant-garde, neo-romantic, experimental, conceptual and interdisciplinary designer by world fashion authorities.  With the experience of 27 years, her collections are inspired by independent, confident, successful and beautiful women.  She holds seminars and workshops on color and trend outputs.  Ozlem Suer Fashion Brand was established in Istanbul in 2003.  Meg Ryan and Jessica Simpson are among some of her famous international clients.


This was Ozlem’s first time participating in the Thai Silk event.  When asked what challenges she faced working with Thai silk, Ozlem said, “I always love natural historic fabric like silk with its extraordinary, beautiful yarns woven into unique patterns. So, we enjoyed using these very exciting materials and combinations of natural colors.   Like a sculptor with its piece of art, we were entertained with the weights of its work .”


“In this collection, we tried to use our own details with the fabrics, starting from the caftan tradition, and we used cuts dominated from our own Turkish clothing culture and tradition.”  Ozlem felt very passionate about the entire process as she had the opportunity to work on large footage of the fabric, up to seven to eight meters.


9th Celebration of Silk:  Thai Silk Road to the World 2019


Both Turkey and Thailand have a long cultural history, and Ozlem noted, “I am fully inspired by what Thailand can offer, the richness of the culture comes from its history as it now thrives also in this modern world.  I could feel the natural energy that shines from the magnificent city of Bangkok. Buddhist tradition has its own energy that creates passion with its surroundings. Every time I come, I plan for my next visit.”


When asked, Ozlem praised the very efficient organization of the event.  Everyone was well entertained, and the group received very warm hospitality.  “Nothing was hampered,” she added, “I have truly enjoyed the chance to meet new designers. We met many beautiful guests, and I am pleased to have found a new Thai friend.  Thailand now is a passion for me.”

Credit: Instagram: @ozlemsuer



Kathleen Pokrud

Kathleen Pokrud was born in Hong Kong. After graduated the Master Degree in the U.K., she worked for Hong Kong Trade Development Council, before moving to Thailand in 1991. She has over 20 years experience in project management. For the past decade, she volunteered in education and women empowerment programs. She was Past President of International Women’s Club of Thailand. Currently, she is the President of Hong Kong Ladies’ Group. She is spearheading the new Rotary Club of Wang Mai as Charter President. Kathy is on the Thailand Tatler Magazine Expat Society The 300 List. She and her husband, RADM Dr. Boonyarit Pokrud has one son.



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