Samui Wining & Dining
Many Happy Returns

Thai businesswomen and national celebrity Khun Pattriya Na Nakorn visits Samui at every opportunity.

90Samui has long since been a popular get-away destination for a whole host of worldwide celebrities. From sports stars and literary legends to modern day movie and television personalities, they all come to chill-out and relax in the sun. And the same applies to Thailand’s very own superstars. 

Khun Pattriya ‘Pie’ Na Nakorn is regularly featured on the society pages of all the major glossy magazines and newspapers in the Kingdom. And she’s an ambassador for, and the ‘face’ of, both Gucci and Bottega Veneta in Thailand. She’s been involved with Gucci since childhood and she and her family own the three official Gucci stores and the sole Bottega Veneta store in Bangkok. As a director, buyer and the PR specialist for the family firm, as well as having a host of other business interests, she relishes the opportunity to escape to Samui for a few days when she can. “I have many friends who live and work here and popping down gives me the chance to catch up with them, have some fun and discuss business ideas in a relaxed environment.”

After her formal education, she spent two years studying in Switzerland, regularly crossing the border into Italy. And not just because of her Gucci connection. One of her grandfathers was Italian and her family have been importing and distributing Italians wines, coffee, spirits, olive oils, mineral waters, pastas, sauces, glassware, crockery and kitchen equipment for generations. They have an incredible shop, Italasia, on the island. Coming from Chaweng, it’s just 200 metres past the traffic lights at Bophut. Immaculately designed with lots of wood and mirrors, it’s worth stopping at and having a look around. They also have a delivery service whereby you can arrange to have your fridge stocked up at your villa or resort before you arrive and topped up while you’re here.

For Khun Pattriya, though, much of her time is spent focusing on the high-end fashion aspect of the business with regular trips to Florence and Milan (she holds both Thai and Italian passports). “Closed fashion shows for buyers are incredibly important for us. They allow us to view the very latest designs well in advance but, before buying, I need to temper that with global trends, Hollywood influences and the demands of the South-east Asian marketplace. Years of experience helps, but I do an incredible amount of research throughout the year and listen to my clients.”

Gucci is one of the world’s leading brands for personal luxury items and generated around 2.2 billion euros in worldwide revenues in 2008. Founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci, who was responsible for designing many of the company’s products including the bamboo handle handbag that’s still a company mainstay. In the late 1960s, they developed the famous GG logo, the Flora silk scarf, worn prominently by Hollywood actress and Princess, Grace Kelly, and the ‘Jackie O’ shoulder bag, made famous by Jackie Kennedy.

Khun Pattriya also supports a number of charities and is often present at city functions that promote both local and international charitable organisations. Gucci has had a partnership with UNICEF since 2005 and their stores worldwide donate a percentage of their sales to special collections made specifically for UNICEF to go toward the United Nations Children’s Fund. It helps support education, healthcare, protection and clean water programmes for orphans and children affected by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. And, recently, Khun Pattriya has been involved with Bangkok’s ‘Together We Can’ initiative which is focused on revitalizing the capital’s small business sector.

In addition, she’s also had two books published with a third due out later this year. The first one, ‘Looking Good’, addresses etiquette, manners and fashion. Her second book, ‘Feeling Good’, is packed full of health and beauty tips and the still-to-be-named third book focuses on how to look, feel and act like a star without having to spend lots of money. “It’s as much a state of mind as it is dressing wisely and behaving with decorum.” She also manages her own website (www.b-your-best.com) and chats regularly with ladies from all walks of life looking for advice and fashion secrets. And she has a regular column called ‘Inspired by Experts’ in Sudsupda magazine and another in Lips magazine called ‘Miss Manners’.

She also hosted the popular Thai television shows, Lady’s Corner and Yummy Yummy; the latter being a cooking show. “I do enjoy cooking but just for friends – I’m not a professional. One of the many reasons I love coming to Samui is the number of very talented chefs there are on the island. There’re the cuisines of dozens of countries not to mention fantastic small Thai restaurants dotted all over Samui. And one of my very good friends, Khun Naddapen Toommanon (Nokie), owns Villa Nalinnadda Boutique Resort, in Hua Thanon, which has an outstanding restaurant. Sometimes I wish I could live here all the time!”

There’s another television show in the pipeline called Red Carpet and she’s already written the script for 20 shows. And as if all that wasn’t enough, she’s also a lecturer at John Robert Powers Thailand, a personality institute. “It's like a grooming programme to make executives look more elegant. I record the way they sit, stand and walk so they will see how they look. I teach them how to do their hair and face with makeup. I also have a team of experts in each specific field to help me. Most of the major executives are workaholics and rarely take the time to really look at themselves clearly and objectively; that’s what I’m there for.”

Khun Pattriya tries to get down to Samui every month or two and you’re just as likely to find her snacking in a small Thai restaurant by the roadside as you are to catch her fine-dining at the award-winning Dining on the Rocks restaurant at Six Senses Hideaway, or even dancing in Q Bar. Elegant, fashionable and stunningly beautiful she may be, but she’s also one of the most natural and courteous ladies you could ever meet. And she epitomizes the exceptionally warm, friendly and welcoming personality that Thai people are justifiably so well known for the world over.

 


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