For his part, Panichgul sought to hone in on a different angle. “Sensuality and skin” is how he describes his collection’s vibe. “I wanted to play with sensuality and what is proper. Those two ideas funnel into fetishism in a way.” His runway riffed on transparency and bondage with elastic bandage strips crisscrossing delicate crepe dresses. Even the non-Simmons prints, done by Panichgul himself, played cheekily into the mood with fishnet, lip and eyelash patterns on gentle blouses, billowy harem pants and dresses. “It’s using elements of seduction in a way that’s not typical,” he explains. In other words, romance aplenty, no whip necessary.
“Those prints were such a beautiful counterpoint to what we did,” says Simmons. “What really stunned me was how he used our collaboration to take off on other ideas of surrealism. For me, the show was like looking at an exhibition, and that’s not usually how I feel about a fashion show. I was really trying to understand conceptually how all the pieces tied together.”
While she’s already working on a new series (this time, placing downloaded porn images in dollhouse interiors), Simmons notes that two rose images she did for Panichgul will soon hit the gallery circuit, one in December’s “Photographic Works” benefit exhibition at New York’s Foundation for Contemporary Arts and another in January at the Tomio Koyama Gallery in Tokyo, part of a Simmons retrospective.
“It was a good marriage,” says Panichgul of the collaboration. “She gets my sensibility and I get hers. I mean, she’s naughty when you think of her work, but when you meet her, she’s the total opposite, warm and easygoing. What’s interesting to me is a sex appeal in something that’s not perceived as such. I find that much more interesting than if you can read an open book.”