Classic ladies are not Thakoon Panichgul’s type, so it was surprisingto see him build his fall collection around prim shapes, such as short,straight dresses with three-quarter sleeves. The models were prom readyin messy French twists and painted pouts that matched the shadespulsing on the clothes (magenta, fuchsia and cherry red ) — colors ofthe heart. This was Panichgul in the mood for love. “I was feelingsomething a bit more romantic,” he said during a preview. “It’s charmingin an old school way, like romantic New York.” That seems almost quaintin the wake of his last two shows, stellar affairs steeped in ethnicreferences as disparate as maharajas and Marie Antoinette. If thiscollection didn’t match their mesmerizing fusion of color and exotictaste, it offered plenty of lovely clothes.

The pretty clichéswere deliberate, though nothing was played on the nose — that’s notPanichgul’s style. An undercurrent of sly irony and subversive sexualitycoursed through the collection, winking at bad taste along the way. Acamel coatdress that looked plain and proper from the front had a purpleleopard-printed pony collar and an openwork leather basket-weave panelin the back. Crinkled patent leather came in black and wild pink, thelatter on a skirt sporting a big bow at the tail. Chubby sweaters werelaced with Mongolian fur in an explosion of exuberant fuzz. And for thegirl who doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, there was chicunderstatement too, such as a black halter — completely backless — wornwith matching trousers.

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