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A Talk With Thakoon: On Uniqlo, Ikram, and Collaborations

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At the hub of art and culture, Ikram in River North, we caught Thakoon Panichgul as he was briefly visiting the city and the boutique that spurred his career.

Racked: Who are you wearing?
Thakoon Panichgul: Odin shirt, khakis from Tokyo, Comme des Garçon shoes and a scarf by Margiela.

R: What are you wearing that we can't see?
T.P.:Kiehl's, NARS, and I don't wear fragrance. I sometimes wear Comme des Garçons 2 Man but most times, because I have a highly sensitive olfactory, I find fragrance overwhelming.

R: Would you ever consider doing a collaboration with Uniqlo? Have you been approached?
T.P: Yes. Yes. [pauses] It hasn't been the right thing. [pauses] They should have one in Chicago.

R: What would be your dream collaboration?
TP: With an artist. It would be exciting to have it [this collaboration] be more artistic...something like, you are wearing art. I know that fashion people think that fashion is art which, in aspects, it is, but I would like it [this collaboration] to be more elevated than that.

Racked: So you admire the aesthetic of the original Margiela?
TP: Yes, I have a lot of old Margiela, I also have a lot of old Helmut Lang.

R: Before you produced your debut collection in '04, you were the first person to write about Ikram's store after she left Ultimo. Walk me through the article.
TP: It was for Harper's Bazaar [where he worked as a features editor] and it was a one pager about new scenes in Chicago. I don't remember who, but someone told me that she had great taste and good style, so I found her.

From that day on, the "magic" as Ikram says, has stayed between them. They would talk on the phone, go out for dinner, and when Thakoon told Ikram he was producing a collection, he had her support, citing the fact that magazine people almost always go on to create great work. When the box of samples from Thakoon's first collection arrived, stunned with the designs, Ikram bought every single piece. The rest is history.
· Thakoon [Official Site]


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