VISIONS FROM THE EAST

Four young Asian designers steal the spotlight at New York's big fashion show

GROWING UP IN OMAHA, NEB., FASHION designer Thakoon Panichgul always felt more American than Thai. Maybe that was because Panichgul, 29, spent most of his time listening to mellow '70s hits from the Carpenters like Top of the World and I Just Fall in Love Again, or maybe it was because he had more of an affinity for clean, American sportswear than he did for the more ornate styles that are popular in his native Bangkok.

"When I went back there for Christmas last year I noticed that everyone was listening to the Carpenters and Burt Bacharach too," he says, sitting...

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