A mere catwalk with a bunch of models strutting to a repetitive techno track doesn't quite cut it for designer Thom Browne, so when it comes to choosing what to attend amidst the boundless bulk of shows in a major Fashion Week lineup, his is definitely a must. After all, landing an invite in the first place is really an honor (Browne's PR runs a notoriously tight ship).
My schedule for day six of New York Fashion Week (at least I think it's day six...been a long week) was pretty eclectic. The first show on the agenda was Jeremy Scott's, where the week's wackiest characters came out of the woodwork to flaunt their most garish and gaudy getups. Browne's show followed suit and the crowd couldn't have been more different, opting instead for a much more formal look.
Once I was ushered inside, I walked into a harshly-lit bunker-like space that was decorated with these colorful mosaic tiles, giving it an empty swimming pool vibe. The florescents blared so hard that the room wreaked of burnt glass. All of the pit photographers were wearing white lab coats, which actually complemented the technicolor wall they stood against ever so nicely. Every detail counts for Thom Browne.
As the filler track of fluttery light classical music started to fade and the lights completely dimmed, everyone quickly ceased their conversations to prep for the theatrics to come.
The models walked out in bulbous, floral-patterned shower caps and beach capes while quietly gossiping to one another before getting into still formation. They proceeded to disrobe, revealing svelte dresses that featured almost too much detail for one retina to handle. Entering the whimsical Stepford Wives pool party were characters dressed in animal costumes (a nightmarish element to the otherwise dreamy scenario), who picked up the fallen garms and whisked them away from the stage.
Checkers, stripes and safari-like foliage were the patterns du jour this season. Color combinations included a swath of preppy pastels and black/white, with each dress cleverly designed to mimic the look of tailoring. Per usual, Browne incorporated a crème de la crème of suity fabrics - tweed, cashmere, satin, cotton of the highest thread count - and slapped a few quirky touches for good measure (a sequin here, a furry collar there).
Finally, in a final coup de théâtre, the models stripped down into their last outfit change to show off a spectrum of '60s-style striped bathing suits. After they reclined, a statuesque lady dressed in a silver sequined number started to spin around in the center under a bright stage light, turning her into a human disco ball.
The presentation's impeccable production, flawless timing and visually-arresting collection was pure entertainment, making it a cut above the rest on the Fashion Week agenda. But it's a Thom Browne show, so I wouldn't have expected anything less.
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