What makes a good show? Is there a difference between a good show and a good collection? Are we meant to wear all this? These are all valid questions having seen or attended a Thom Browne
show. More than many other designers, the New York City tailor divides opinion. People feel strongly about him, whatever camp they pledge alliance to. Not many people would wear the catwalk collections, it’s even unlikely any stores actually buy them in the first place. Instead it’s the grey suits and, even more so, the button down shirts that fly off the shelves. So, in that case, what is the point of these shows? Actually, more than shows, they are spectacles. This time around, at the Halle Freyssinet, Browne sat models down in a square, wearing variations of those grey suits. In and around them, two “guards” patrolled the group, removing blind folds off the seated models. All of them wore perplex mime masks. And why not?
As other models started flooding the space, the theme became obvious. A futuristic take on tailoring via the film Tron. Pointy cones were sewn into the jackets and trousers, giving the suits an angular and asymmetric aesthetic. As a look, or even taken apart piece by piece, it’s questionable whether any of this is wearable in the traditional use of the word. But is that the point? Is Thom Browne missing a trick or is he spot on, a fantastical creative delivering the kind of collections that most other designers are too scared off? Again, there is no right or wrong answer, it all depends on what you want to get out of fashion. At the end of the day, a show is a very expensive 10 minutes. They are organized and staged as a marketing ploy and as a way of communicating the message of the season. They can showcase plain clothes but is it worth it? That’s why they invented showrooms. There are a few designers out there who treat their shows as showcases for their imagination, not so much the clothes. They like the idea of events as much as catwalk shows. They’re seminal. They probably spend more time on the show concepts than the actual collection. And in a day age where the “let’s parade a model up and down a catwalk” shows are a dime a dozen, we’ve got to cherish the likes of Thom Browne.
How would you describe this collection?
It was all about a futuristic idea but also about creating a new version of the grey suit.
What was your starting point and main inspiration?
We started with the movie Tron and then just played with more futuristic ideas of interpreting clothes in a very anatomical way, because all the shades come from the human anatomy, and then doing it in classic American fabrics.
What kind of fabrics did you use?
American classics like seersuckers, cottons, linens and cotton-linens plus a few new ones like rubber tweeds. The madras plaids are based on the registered tartan that I have, as is the light installation above the models.