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VIDEO: Inside Thai Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana's equestrian fashion world

Thai Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana started horseback riding when she was only 9

By Web Desk
September 26, 2023

Thai Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana entered the Asian Games horse riding competition with her love for equestrian fashion after being urged to "go for it" by the monarch on Tuesday.

Sirivannavari started horseback riding at the age of nine, and she is proficient in dressage, eventing, and jumping. She received her equestrian training at the International Moniteur d'Equitation, Le Cadre Noir de Saumur, in France, and has competed for her nation as a member of the Thai equestrian team in contests.

The worlds of the equestrian and the royal fashionista have long overlapped.

She regards horse riding as a way of complimenting her fashion style statement and considers herself one of the fond admirers of equestrian fashion.

For the horse riding competition; boots, breeches, show shirts, and show coats are the essential horseback riding attire. By pairing the uniform with tall or ankle boots, slender slacks, a shirt and a blazer, equestrian fashionistas transform it into a wearable, everyday outfit.

Thai Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana presiding over the ceremony marked the 22th anniversary of the Royal Stable Unit at the Cavalry Division 2 The King’s Guard. — Royal Family Thailand
Thai Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana presiding over the ceremony marked the 22th anniversary of the Royal Stable Unit at the Cavalry Division 2 The King’s Guard. — Royal Family Thailand

A long-standing custom was broken when women first started riding horses at the turn of the 20th century. The significance of women entering bars with men was enormous. Prior to this, ladies emphasised their femininity by riding on sidesaddle while wearing skirts and gowns.

Horses and fashion continue to be in trend. High couture designers occasionally draw inspiration from equestrian culture to create collections that are heavily influenced by it. The biggest examples of this trend are perhaps haute couture designers like Ralph Lauren and Gucci, the latter of which has its own equestrian line and a trademark for a horse bit.

Thai Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana in the inaugural International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Asian Championships in Pattaya. — Royal Family Thailand
Thai Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana in the inaugural International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Asian Championships in Pattaya. — Royal Family Thailand

As Sirivannavari competes in so many different sports, the princess is frequently very busy; she claims to ride every day and work on her fashion brand in the evening. Her athletic accomplishments extend beyond horse sports.

The 36-year-old, who competed at the 2006 Games in badminton, is part of Thailand´s dressage contingent, riding in the team and individual competitions in Hangzhou.

"I will do my best for (the people of Thailand)," she said at the Tonglu Equestrian Centre.

"They´re my cheerleaders, my power, my fuel. I play for the Thai people."

The princess, the only daughter of King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his former wife Sujarinee Vivacharawongse is at her third Asian Games.

As well as badminton in 2006, she also rode in the 2014 Games in South Korea.

"Luckily our father is supporting us. He has always said, ´Go for it! You want to do it? Do it,´" said the princess, who learned to ride at age nine and trained in France.

"He knows that what drives my heart is horses and badminton. Since my grandfather´s time, the royal family has always competed in sports."

She is the latest in a line of royals to compete in top-level equestrianism — Britain´s Zara Phillips was a 2012 Olympics silver medallist.

Thai Princess Sirivannavari Nariratanas photoshoot for Tatler. — Tatler
Thai Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana's photoshoot for Tatler. — Tatler

Away from the sporting domain, Sirivannavari is a keen fashion designer and has had shows at Paris Fashion Week.

She cited her sister as an inspiration for being in China.

"I do it for my sister. My sister is a horse-lover and a show-jumper and she wants to be on the national team, but she cannot make it," she said.

"So she gave everything to me: all the information, all of her strategy, all of the equipment."

Her elder sister, Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol, was hospitalised late last year for heart, lung and kidney issues