Thakoon Panichgul is a Thai-American designer who steadily carved a niche for himself in the New York fashion industry before gaining wider fame after his appearance in The September Issue. Technically gifted Thakoon designs feminine collections, with simple lines crafted through deceptively complex construction. Thakoon has likened his work to a peony, telling American Vogue, “My pieces sort of open up like that.”
Following his graduation with a degree in business from Boston University in 1997, Panichgul moved to New York determined to enter the fashion industry. His first career within it was as a fashion writer, working at Harper’s Bazaar, where he held the role of associate features editor. During his time as an editor, Thakoon came to discern a gap in the market and a desire within himself to design and create clothing, rather than only comment upon the work of others.
The designer enrolled at Parsons New School of Design to study fashion design from 2001 to 2003. In September 2004, Panichgul debuted his line with a 14-piece collection, which was exclusively available to buy at Net-a-Porter. Thakoon was quickly championed by both the press and those in the public eye, with fans of his clothes including Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel Bilson and Demi Moore. Michelle Obama wore one of his designs during the Democratic Nomination of 2008, garnering Panichgul significant press in the United States.
Thakoon has also collaborated with both the Gap, Mango and Target. In 2006, Thakoon was one of three recipients of the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund and the designer was also nominated by the CFDA for the Swarovski Award for Best Emerging Womenswear Designer.