"Designers' Firsts" is a series where seasoned designers recall their first major milestones in their careers. First up: Thakoon Panichgul, who will show his spring 2017 collection at 7 p.m. ET on Feb. 9 during New York Fashion Week.
The first time I knew I wanted to be a designer: When I was in middle school, collecting fashion magazines and watching Elsa Klensch on CNN every Saturday morning.
My first sketch was of a: I think I was drawing over those Richard Avedon images for Gianni Versace of supermodels.
The first thing I ever designed was: A pair of khaki shorts in home economics in the 7th grade. I took a pants pattern and adjusted it, and sewed it up. They had a lot of pleats!
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My first mentor was: My grandmother, who taught me how to be crafty.
My first show at NYFW was in: Fall of 2004, for the Spring 2005 season
The first model I cast was: Iselin Stero. She looks better and better.
The first celebrity to ever wear my designs: Demi Moore
The first lesson I learned the hard way: The importance of giving UPS the correct zipcode. It was February 2008, and our show was on a Sunday. We were expecting a package of 35 pairs of shoes from Italy to arrive for the show, but because I supplied the wrong zip code to my show designer (based in Italy), UPS would not deliver our shoes until Monday, after the show. On Saturday, when UPS is technically closed, my entire team spent the next 8 hours on the phone with every representative they could speak to—everyone had different and incomplete information as to where these shoes might be. We tracked it to a facility in Hell’s Kitchen, and somehow by miracle, we were let in just before 6 p.m., gave the tracking number and signed away our lives to be permitted to leave with the shoes!