Continuing my journey to discover historical costumes and traditional dress around the world, my next stop found me in Bangkok, Thailand. The local MBK Shopping Center is home to the Thai Style Photography Studio where a modern day nomad can be transformed into a member of Thai royalty.
I travelled by tuktuk to the MBK centre and immediately set off for the third floor. I surprisingly bypassed a plethora of incredible shopping adventures, but I was a woman on a mission! Once I arrived on the third floor I located the deceptively small studio. You have to be careful not to walk past the shop as the studio is actually inside a retail store front. The place where the magic happens is tucked away in a small room behind the retail area. Once inside though, you know something amazing is about to happen. I was warmly welcomed in a mixture of Thai and English by the store owner and shown to the back room where all the makeup, adornments and costumes are stored. This area is set up like the backstage of a movie set and dazzles you with lighted mirrors, the lustre of silk and glitter of gold.
Unfortunately I don’t have many photos of the transformation as personal photography in the studio is not allowed. I was able to snap a few photos to show you a behind the scenes of my hair and makeup process.
My stylist then took me to an area where she proceeded to pick out different fabrics and pin them to my body. I wore the traditional formal Thai costume, known in Thai as ชุดไทยพระราชนิยม (literally Thai dress of royal endorsement) it consisted of lengths of red silk wrapped tightly around the body and held with gold ornaments and clasps.
After this we moved to the store front where it was Lights, Camera, Action!
This costume was a bit difficult to walk around in! The one thing I really liked about the photographer was how picky he was when It came to the drape of the fabric. He repinned and adjusted the pleats on the skirts quite a few times before he was happy with the way they looked.
I was given the opportunity to choose my favorite photos and then went shopping while the photos were processed. I would always recommend telling them you are either cabin crew or in a hurry as the printing takes a bit of time to do. Unlike my experience in Korea where it was done quite quickly it does take a while longer here. Overall I think it was an incredible experience and I would be keen to repeat it in a different costume next time!