The future’s here, and it’s looking exotic

This hugely talented Thai-born, Australian-based student of Fashion Design rocketed onto the fashion radar last year with her vibrant graduate show, ‘Libertine’, sponsored by Swarovski Australia. Make a mental note of the name: Mook Attakanwong—we predict you’ll be seeing more of it.

Tell us how you started out.
My parents have an antique business, and my two sisters studied art and graphic design, and now work in creative industries. I was surrounded by creativity, and used to make jewelry for my mom and sisters, as well as hand-sewn toys. I knew I’d have a creative career, and particularly in fashion!

The startling look you created for the ‘Libertine’ collection is chock-a-block with attitude. Tell us about your process.
‘Libertine’ was inspired by Byzantine Empress Theodora (who was also an actress and a prostitute!) and is pretty tongue-in-cheek, combining casual sportswear elements with luxury. What define the collection are the unique textiles and surface applications I’ve used. I reinvented the idea of sumptuous Indian brocades by silk-screening classic patterns such as stripes, checks and polka dots on top, and exaggerated them further with bright sequins embroidery. I also used images of crystals and turned them into digital prints, then added Swarovski crystals on top to create a 3D effect.

You’ve said that you aim to ‘push the boundaries of drape’.
When you make a pattern for a design, it’s very difficult to visualize the final look. Draping allows you to see the form of the garment in front of you. For 'Libertine', I draped traditional garments on a stand to evoke silhouettes, which inspired the finished outfit.

Where do you find inspiration?
Different cultures, history, and offbeat, renegade creatives such as Japanese writer/artist Yayoi Kusama and London-based designer Ashish Gupta, who reinvents classics with amplified volumes and sequined embellishment.

What led to you working with Swarovski Australia?
Fashion students at the University of Technology Sydney are lucky enough to be considered for sponsorship by Swarovski to support their graduate collection. Swarovski has definitely helped me achieve my creative goals so far—this event is already a major highlight in my career

At what stage do crystals enter your design process?
I’m never sure where crystals will be placed until close to the end of the production process, because predetermining how they’ll look restricts my vision. I design the crystal placements organically and spontaneously onto the finished garments. Once the crystals are in place, that’s when the garments really come to life.

What are you plans/dreams for the future?
I want to complete a Masters degree in Fashion Design and try for internships to equip me for when I launch my own label! Meanwhile, I’m broadening my perspective by collaborating with some great emerging creative talents in Sydney.

Click here to see Mook’s gorgeous ‘Libertine’ collection come to life!

Photographer: Liam Cameron, Beauty: Lianne Claire, Model: Nat Archer.

Swarovski Crystals Magazine #01 - Everyday Extraordinary

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