NYFW: Thom Browne
WHO: Thom Browne
BIO: Most notably known for his shrunken menswear suiting, Thom Browne applied knowledge he gained from working on the creative development teams of Club Monaco and Ralph Lauren. He also has a collection with Moncler Gamme Bleu. In addition to his distinct designs, Thom’s collection presentations are known for being keen examples of performance art.
FUN FACT: Thom Browne studied Economics at the University of Notre Dame
ABOUT THE FALL COLLECTION: In order to discuss Thom Browne’s Fall 2012 Collection, one must discuss the manner in which it was presented, on a frigid February night on the third floor of the New York Public Library, to a crowd of jaded but hopeful fashion-goers. Thom’s shrunken, bookish aesthetic is fitting for the home of thousands upon thousands of books (and we can’t even begin to imagine just what the standard library-goers were thinking when Fashion Week’s colorful parade clicked through the library’s marbled hallways…) but tonight’s performance was one for the books. The presentation took place in the Edna Barnes Salomon Room; and, since this is Thom Browne, we’d like to think that there is some rife significance in the room he selected but – alas – we’re zooming underground on the train and can’t do too extensive of research beyond a childhood obsession with Ghostbusters and the action that took place deep in the stacks between the parapsychologists & a pesky creature of the afterlife.
Jeff Buckley hummed Hallelujah overhead; the mood was mournful, solemn. Edna’s room was dark save a few lamplights directed upon what appeared to be open coffins. Perhaps this would be an Ode to Fashion Week’s Fashion Victims? The be-specked gentleman to my left and I mused whether or not the encased figures were real or mannequins. Then one of them quivered.
A lady sporting a most fetching top-knot and Thom Browne suit entered the room and approached the podium where she explained that this was a funeral for ten girls who lived and died for fashion. Suddenly the recumbent bodies popped up — eery and obscured by pale, translucent masks — and stepped out of their padded boxes. Is this when the show begins? Thom Browne’s presentations are lauded to be more performance art than preview, taking his audience to the strange worlds of his imagination and this was a classic Thom Browne Trip. His collection blended classic Thom Browne (palette of grey and white, menswear touches, signature red, blue & white stripe) with Thom Browne quirk. This was his fashion dream, helmed by Tim Burton’s magical sensibilities. It felt like we had drifted into The Corpse Bride: ghostly models scooted around the perimeter, faces obscured save lips encrusted in silvery flecks. Thick swathes of material swooped and layered themselves about while giant cones of felt and wool erupted at the elbows, knees, posterior and front. One model casually drug a felt faux-fox fur on the floor behind her while another kept hers clutched tight and dear to her chest. Perhaps these models were given a brief education in Thom Browne theatrics — I so was dying to quiz them post-show (were you dying to giggle? just how did you keep a straight face? botox? Could you see through those strange veils?). Great loops of material created giant bows enveloping a lass in a sheer black top with crisp white French cuffs (note the menswear touch there, dears). Good gracious what a grand imagination Another poor girl seemed locked in a wool number that only permitted her to take the teeniest of steps (and, in a move of irony, good humor or perhaps both, her zippers jingled if only to emphasize the sartorial straightjacket in which she was trapped). Final looks furthered his morose Fashion Victim Fantasy: a white sparkling, tinkling gown (fitting for a Corpse Bride, non?) and what only can be described as a Stegosaurus Gown, complete with a Jurassic-Plated train.
And then, just like that, the show ended. Upon leaving, we were struck with that first-felt pang of giddiness, as though we had just experienced fashion for the first time…. and, perhaps, that’s precisely how Fashion Week should be.
New York Fashion Week: