Classic ladies are not Thakoon Panichgul’s type, so it was surprising to see him build his fall collection around prim shapes, such as short, straight dresses with three-quarter sleeves. The models were prom ready in messy French twists and painted pouts that matched the shades pulsing on the clothes (magenta, fuchsia and cherry red ) — colors of the heart. This was Panichgul in the mood for love. “I was feeling something a bit more romantic,” he said during a preview. “It’s charming in an old school way, like romantic New York.” That seems almost quaint in the wake of his last two shows, stellar affairs steeped in ethnic references as disparate as maharajas and Marie Antoinette. If this collection didn’t match their mesmerizing fusion of color and exotic taste, it offered plenty of lovely clothes.
The pretty clichés were deliberate, though nothing was played on the nose — that’s not Panichgul’s style. An undercurrent of sly irony and subversive sexuality coursed through the collection, winking at bad taste along the way. A camel coatdress that looked plain and proper from the front had a purple leopard-printed pony collar and an openwork leather basket-weave panel in the back. Crinkled patent leather came in black and wild pink, the latter on a skirt sporting a big bow at the tail. Chubby sweaters were laced with Mongolian fur in an explosion of exuberant fuzz. And for the girl who doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, there was chic understatement too, such as a black halter — completely backless — worn with matching trousers.