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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Fashioning Tradition: Queen Sirikit Creates a National Dress for Thailand

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Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles / Bangkok

In 1941, the Thai government issued a decree that required all Thai nationals to wear Western clothing. As a result, when Queen Sirikit ascended to the throne in 1960, the country—unlike its neighbors India and Japan—had no national dress with which to express a rich cultural identity. A quest began. The Queen explored the past for style and silhouettes, and examined textiles worn by women of the Thai court between the 1850s and 1925. Her design team created an elegant and understated drape dress, which employed shoulder cloths and hip wraps—a stunning ode to the country. This slideshow exhibition tells the story. —E.C.

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Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles พระบรมมหาราชวัง Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
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