Thakoon Panichgul was born in the province of Chiang Rai in Thailand in 1974, but at the age of 9 moved to the USA, to Omaha, Nebraska. Graduating in 1997 with a business degree from Boston University, his fashion career began at J. Crew in New York as a merchandiser. After 3 years exposure to the fashion world at J. Crew, Panichgul moved from here in 2000 to Harper’s Bazaar, working as a fashion writer whilst simultaneously studying at the prestigious Parsons School of Design.
It was in 2004 that Panichgul came to the world’s attention as a designer. Debuting his first collection at New York Fashion Week, he was showered by critical acclaim. This was much relief to Panichgul who had self-funded the collection using savings he had for a down payment on an apartment. This firm foundation was built upon further in 2005, winning the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award, and in 2006, becoming one of the winners of the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund Prize. As well as being recognised by his peers, his designs are in high demand amongst some of America’s most influential and stylish women, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Demi Moore and Michelle Obama, who wore a Panichgul design when her husband accepted the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination.
Panichgul is a designer ho leans heavily towards the feminine, his work often featuring pretty floral prints, though he does offset this on occasions with a touch of the surreal. Panichgul believes passionately that fashion should be more dimensional in its approach, and it is for this reason he can often be seen to be experimenting with layering. One should not class Panichgul’s designs as ever being safe however. For as much as his designs are nice, they all include an element of the naughty, this bawdy cheekiness adding a large dash of character to his creations.