hem of my Mother's Thai silk wedding dress
The gown in all its 1967 glory
But back to the silk. Thai silk was all the rage in the 1950's and 1960's, a traditional handicraft that had been transformed into a very large industry post WW2. By the 1960's there were probably a hundred different Thai silk manufacturers, of varying quality. My mother's wedding silk was fairly typical of the more elaborate weaving and embroidery methods that were by then being utilised, and the edge of the long straight train and hem of the dress were woven with silver thread, with small silver embroidered medallions scattered through the body of the fabric. It was a fairly typical style of 60's wedding gown for its day, and after the wedding Mum had the train shortened, the sleeves taken off and neckline lowered to turn it into a ball gown to get more use out of it. Sadly this meant that by the time I came to be married I couldn't use it myself as it was by then rather the worse for wear from too much partying.
The Drawing room with doors opening to a terrace via The House on the Klong
The other view of the Drawing Room via The House on the Klong
The dining room via The House on the Klong
Jim Thompson's house, now a museum
Then, in 1967, Thompson took a short Easter weekend holiday to the Cameron highlands in Malaysia with friends to stay in a villa. This area is mountainous and was originally developed as an English Hill Station town (a place for the colonials to move to during the hottest months down on the plain). It was surrounded by dense jungle criss crossed with narrow and fairly rudimentary hiking trails, and at the time still had local Indigenous tribes living deep in the jungle. On the afternoon of Easter Sunday, the entire household decided to have a nap. It appears that Thompson wasn't feeling so tired, and so went for a stroll, leaving his cigarettes and jacket on a chair on the verandah indicating he wasn't planning to be gone long (he was a heavy smoker). No one saw the direction he went in, and he never returned. He simply disappeared.
Entry Foyer of the Jim Thompson house
My own bit of Jim Thompson fabric in my Sitting room
If you are in Bangkok the house is open for viewing, now owned and managed by a Foundation set up by his family after his disappearance. His collection of traditional Thai and Cambodian pieces contained within is fabulous, and it's a window into another era before Bangkok transformed into the densely populated, Western style city it is today.
My last post in this Design and Crime series will be on the novel "Rebecca", the author Daphne du Maurier, and the house that inspired the book.
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