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Thom Browne, the label, is like a chic cult. One that many want to be a part of, although probably never will be.
The red, white, and blue ribbon logo; the four white stripes on the left arm of its suits, knitwear, and sweaters; its thousand and one variations of gray; and its purposely cropped everything are just a few of the brand’s many signatures that, once worn, make the wearer feel like they’ve been granted access to Browne’s exclusive club of cool kids.
That tight-knit sense of community was present today at the designer’s Fall/Winter 2019 show held at Parisian fine arts school École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, where guests were greeted by Thom Browne staff members, as well as PRs and friends of the brand, including models Maggie Maurer and Adesuwa Aighewi, and American-Ghanaian actor Kofi Siriboe. All were decked out head to toe in Thom Browne.
The room itself was covered in bubble wrap, from the chairs and floors to the outfits of the first cast of robotic models who walked a ceremonial first lap around the runway.
The tribe stood tall, right down to the fashion photographers, who were mandated to wear the brand’s classic white lab coats in the photo pit at the end of the runway.
Like everything Browne does, there is a back story, a deeper reference making the clothes more than just clothing. This season, the American designer explored the idea of traditional masculinity and its stereotypes. To express this, he had each look showcased by three models who walked in a sequence, showing the garments in three different ways. The first was the classic look, the second was the trompe l’oeil version, and the third was an avant-garde, conceptual version of the first two.
“It was like good, better, best,” Browne told Highsnobiety after the show. One outfit trio included a deep navy overcoat with golden detailing worn with a classic Thom Browne cropped gray suit and heel. The look was accompanied by the brand’s Hector bag — modeled after Browne’s beloved dachshund — which was then deconstructed for the final look. “It’s very [environmentally] conscious,” Browne joked.
“There’s something so interesting in taking more classic, very masculine pieces [like suiting] and using them and draping them on the body and making them very feminine,” he added.
It was like a scene from another planet. Danny Elfman’s Mars Attack score was a fitting soundtrack. Plastic foil covering the faces of models, done by London-based makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench, added to the utopian fantasy Browne was trying to create.
At the end, there was no victory final lap like at other shows. Instead, the same bubble wrap-covered models returned, with one of the show’s core models removing bubble wrap from vertical poles in the middle of the runway, unveiling miniature versions of all the runway looks.
“It’s how I started the collection and I thought it was interesting, instead of showing a finale, to actually show the beginning of the collection,” the designer explained.
There it was — the deeper reference.
In other fashion week news, Vetements previewed a new sneaker with Reebok.