It has been something of an intermission for Thakoon Panichgul, the designer of the label that bears his name. In the time the company took a brief recess from the New York fashion schedule and sold a controlling stake to Bright Fame Fashion — the group led by Vivian Chou, the progeny of textile mogul Silas Chou who invested early in Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger —, the see now, buy now phenomenon has upended the strategy relied on for decades by retailers. It is the Instagram effect in full force.
That has not been lost on Mr Panichgul and his new backers, who have invested in a SoHo flagship and ecommerce operations. Already, more than half of the ready-to-wear looks from his autumn winter 2016 collection shown on Thursday are up for sale (some already marketed on the company’s Instagram account). Over the next few weeks, more will dribble out to store and web. It is an experiment under way at a handful of other fashion houses: Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry included.
“I’ve been questioning the system for the last year and a half,” Mr Panichgul said after his show in Dumbo, with the Brooklyn Bridge and World Trade Center a stunning backdrop. “It is a big puzzle and you just have to solve it. That’s the beauty of what we do. People want real clothes, real interesting clothes at the time they want it.”
For the new Thakoon customer that will include long-sleeve plaid shirt dresses cinched at the waist in deep burgundy and black, ruffles falling down the skirt, with a 1990s grunge aesthetic. A black nightie with Chantilly lace trim, ribbed cardigans that dipped beyond the thigh, frayed frilly denim skirts and mohair teddy bear coats kept the 31-look collection youthful, and somewhat raw for a brand that has in the past hewed more prim and ladylike, if not saccharine.
Thakoon piled the layers up: a taupe ribbed cable knit sweater over a merino wool sweater cape over a bell-cuffed porcelain coloured top, shown with a black windowpane wrapped skirt. It was frivolous and a bit flippant. But it was enjoyable to see, especially for a brand that will not enjoy the wholesale treatment.
The hundreds of mix tapes, cassette players and headphones the brand mailed to guests as invitations were perhaps the only perplexing bit. Analogue. For a brand that will depend on consumers hitting the “add to cart” button on its website in the coming days and weeks, don’t mix the metaphor. It’s all about digital.