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Stars head for the hills for fresh wardrobes (4 Mar 16)

It's not often you see big stars like Cris Horwang, Araya “Chompoo” Hargate, Urassaya “Yaya” Sperbund and Jirayu “James” Tangsrisuk at the same event

But in this case the outfits were pretty chic - designed by Kris Yensudchai of the Mae Fah Lunag Foundation - and the setting certainly was hilly. They were at the Anantara Resort in Chiang Rai on Saturday for a "Fashion Destination 2016" party hosted by L'Officiel magazine's Thai edition.

More than 100 celebrities travelled north for the bash, at which James served as emcee, and many of them were attired in gear from Kris' new "Savage Guardian" collection.

Yaya looked truly sophisticated wearing a haute couture ensemble on the catwalk while folks dined al fresco. 

Kris has been working with the foundation for 14 years, dreaming up stylish new looks for the traditional clothing and woven patterns of the ethnic tribal people. He's used fabrics entirely made by hand (and looms) at the foundation's Doi Tung project in the far northern province.

The name "savage guardian" is an homage of sorts to the rugged people of the mountains and forests, though it's hard to imagine the women in the mini-dresses Kris has come up with. He's covered that bit of immodesty with jackets and topped the look with some impressive headgear. 

His quilted tunic dresses carry various woven and stitched patterns, long a mainstay of the Mae Fah Luang fashion lines but now modernised in terms of texture and volume. Enhancing the traditional, Kris has utilised the latest technology, and some of the fabrics mingle natural and synthetic fibres. 

Asked to explain himself, Kris said something about mysterious forest guardians, "the complexity of nature" and "optical art". "We used more modern techniques like silkscreen, but we finished the clothes with hand-painting and embroidery, which adds value to the hand-crafting process," he said.

Kris has a bachelor's degree in interior design from a school in San Diego, California, and got his master's in fashion design at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy. Now he's a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, from which also has a doctorate in fine and applied arts. 

He's worked at the renowned fashion houses Prada and Isabelle Marant, and it shows in his collections, which are full of creativity, involving innovative material and techniques applied by hand. His work has been hailed as a form of art, in fact, and is often seen on international runways. Last year he took part in Designers Days Paris. 

Among the awards both Kris has won at home and abroad was Designer of the Year from Silpakorn University, also last year, and the bronze medal at the Designer for Asia Awards in Hong Kong in 2008. 

Another fashion guru, Araya "Art" Intra, did the styling for the parade of celebrity savages on Saturday night, adding a blast of colour to Kris' show. The evening ended up a great success, with orders placed for more than half the items in the collection. For her part, Cris Horwang went home with three outfits!

Credits: The Nation