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Thakoon plays with humor at NY Fashion Week

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NEW YORK — You've got to have a sense of humor — and some guts — to send a birdcage-print dress down the runway as the opening look for a New York Fashion Week preview.

Thakoon Panichgul on Sunday proved he has both.

The clothes mostly were more serious than silly (Panichgul dresses the first lady sometimes, after all), but, come on, a little gold chain dangling between the beaks of two embroidered birds is certainly a conversation starter.

"You have to have joy in fashion," Panichgul said in a pre-show interview. "I wanted to show classic cool with whimsy."

He got that with a few pieces covered in clear plastic pailettes that mirrored the flashes from photographers' cameras.

Panichgul featured many layers of sometimes weighty fabrics, which gave the clothes their shape and structure while still allowing for a looser silhouette, including an orchid-embroidered organza halter dress in a trapeze shape with braided leather trim.

Who's the muse?

"I can't see her face, but she moves through the crowd. She lives fast, loves fashion, but she doesn't let it dictate her personal style," he said.