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Women dressed in traditional costumes pose for a picture in Ayutthaya, Thailand, on April 6.   © Reuters
Tea Leaves

Bringing Thailand together through costume

Boom sparked by soap opera offers chance to review the past

MARWAAN MACAN-MARKAR | Thailand

In mid-February, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn invited his subjects to dress up in 19th century court costumes to celebrate a "winter fair." For several weeks, Dusit, the historic Bangkok neighborhood that includes Chitralada Palace, the monarch's official residence, was transformed into a living pageant.

Thailand's governing military regime grabbed the chance to burnish its patriotic credentials, led by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the junta's supremo. Prayuth showed up all smiles on a tropical afternoon at Royal Plaza, a major public square, wearing a light-purple silk top and sash over a pair of puffed and shimmering pantaloons.

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