4 months is the duration that Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles was closed due to new exhibitions construction. However the preparation was much earlier than that. Today (since 4th August 2016) we are now open to the public and introduce them to two brand new exhibitions, in honour to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s 7th cycle birthday.
Fit For A Queen: Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s Creations by Balmain occupied Gallery 1 and 2. The exhibition focuses on 22-year-long working relationship between Her Mejesty the Queen and French couturier Pierre Balmain.
Pierre Balmain became Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s couturier because there was no Thai dressmaker, in those days, knew well about Western royal etiquette. Her Majesty the Queen’s personal dressmaker, Khunying Urai suggested to find a foreign designer.
Balmain was the perfect choice because of 4 reasons. First, he was renowned in France at the same time that Her Majesty the Queen was living there. Second, he had experiences in dressing royal members across Europe. Third, he was friends with a French interior designer who happened to know Thai royal family and lastly he was accidentally on vacation in Bangkok by then.
Within this collection, exhibits more than 30 of Her Majesty’s most stylish daytime, cocktail, and evening dresses, plus related accessories and several pieces of the luggage custom-made by Louis Vuitton.
Another challenge for Balmain was to make a dress out of Thai textiles. Most of Balmain’s early stage of making Her Majesty wardrobe, the dresses were not made of Thai silk. Until Her Majesty the Queen has had a vision to promote Thai Silk to the world, then Balmain had developed his design and style according to the textile’s structure.
Balmain day dress of SUPPORT silk mat mii, 1972.
Apart from the talented Pierre Balmain with his timeless designs, the detail of embroidery is another important technique in making the dress elegant and remarkable. Maison Lesage was and still is a renowned institution of embroidery. Nowadays they’re working under Chanel.
It was fortunate for Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles to have a chance to interview François Lesage (1929-2011) who was in charge of embroidering the Queen’s dresses. In the gallery, there is a short footage of interviewing him in 2009 (before he passed away in 2011).
I was enchanted by the dress. It is my most favourite one out of whole collection.
Later Balmain had also designed Thai national dresses for Her Majesty the Queen. However this dress wasn’t made of Thai silk while all embroidery details were crafted by Maison Lesage.
The exhibition will run through June 2018. Don’t forget to shop some souvenirs inspired by this exhibition when you go downstairs to Museum Shop. We did also re-locate all products we have in the shop. I guess it would be fun to guess what products were related to which dresses in the galleries.
Also there’s the book that contains everything you need to know about the exhibition. Including other Balmain’s dresses Her Majesty had worn but too fragile to be displayed. Fit For A Queen books are available in the Museum Shop as well.
Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles
Address: Ratsadakorn-bhibhathana Building, The Grand Palace,
Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200 Thailand
The museum is open daily from 9.00-16.30
Last admission is at 15.30
Admission to the museum is included in the Grand Palace visitor’s entry fee; please show your palace ticket at the ticket desk for museum admission.
Ticket prices for Thai and foreigner
Adults: 150 baht
Seniors (over 65): 80 baht
Students (with ID): 50 baht
Youth (12-18): 50 baht
Children (under 12): free
All photos in this post are copyright protected and are property of
Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles