This week, I'm bringing you belated "World of…" posts, from my travels last year that were originally intended for elsewhere but instead they've found a home on my sorry ass page. Hopefully the subjects won't mind too much. From the whimsicality of Nusumigui in Tokyo, I've hopped over to one of the key admistrators of sweet fashion fantasy, Sretsis. The Thai fashion powerhouse is made up of sisters (the name Sretsis is Sisters spelt backwards) Pim, Matina and Kly and they have been producing sartorial spun sugar since 2003 and have garnered quite the hardcore fanbase in Thailand and beyond. Don't think I've ever encountered a store that has to have controlled periods of closure during the daytime, to prevent stock from selling from the rails too quickly but that was the case with the Sretsis store in Gaysorn shopping mall.
When I was in Bangkok, Pim and Matina were kind enough to let myself and Phil tour their magical and extensive headquarters, where we were welcomed with the sticky rice flour, coconut-slicked Thai sweets, which alas are too cloying for my non-existent sweet tooth. I'd much rather get onboard with the sweet treats, which Sretsis have built up over the last decade or so, creating a vernacular that is very much drenched in sweetness but always with wit and knowing humour. One look at both Pim and Manita's waiting-to-be-Selbyied offices, clad with eBay found vintage wallpaper and filled with an amazing cacophony of retro toy finds and children's books from all over the world, and you can understand how they see the world. I only wish I had an ounce of the dedication that Pim and Manita have towards eBay scouring, because in their physical work space, they've pretty much recreated what my head looks like after wiling away hours, browsing cute cat pics, watching random anime on YouTube and reminiscing about the sticker albums that died a death. Case in point, Manita's sticker drawer in her bureau is quite the impressive range of felties, gellies, glitteries and shinies.
Once you've had a glimpse of their world, inhabited with doe-eyed girls, deers and daisies, it's very easy to join the dots up with their collections. Whilst native fans of Sretsis have the tendency to 100% play up to the perceived girly-girl that Sretsis present, you can see that there's something darker going on. It would be a mistake to write all of Sretsis' sugar-laden endeavours as simplistic girly fantasies made up into clothes fit for dolls. Pim and Matina are always keen to stress that whilst the aesthetic is girly, what that girl does in those clothes shouldn't be so innocent or sweet-natured. A cheeky wink, a twinkle in their eye, a cackle of a laugh – it's impish rather than goody-goody two shoes. See their latest collection with touches of Mexico's Day of the Dead (if there was a inspiration top of the charts, this festival would be well up there). Glow in dark butterflies, faded-in animal spots and a grinning fox (a creature I've always associated with ghosts, according to Chinese culture), temper the frilly edges and diaphanous fabrics.
Sretsis, unfortunately whilst HUGE in their native land and faring very well in the Japanese market, is a little trickier to find in Europe. Many of the pieces from their A/W 13-4 collection happen to be available on pre-order from Perth-based boutique Maximillia. Not that I'm under UV lights much these days but butterflies fluttering about on highlighter yellow does certainly tick boxes.