Thom Browne

Thom Browne Women’s Pre-Fall 2023

Thom Browne Women’s Pre-Fall 2023

Thom Browne is staring at a busy 2023, as he gets ready to take over as chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

“I can bring my experience of how I dealt with the last 20 years and the most important thing for me is that it all starts from creativity,” he said when asked about his approach. “I think here in America, sometimes we get pushed into commercializing things too quickly and that’s at the expense of creativity. I’ve been able to balance the two fairly well, so I’m going to fight the fight for creativity first, and with that commercial success will come.”

He’s planning to show his men’s and women’s collection at New York Fashion Week in February. “I thought since I just started, it would be nice to stay in New York and fly the American flag in New York.”

A good first move.

For now, Browne is showing pre-fall, a commercially minded collection he chose to balance with creative inspiration from the classic book “Moby Dick,” which came to play in whimsical storm-ready silhouettes, seafaring embroideries, and marine mammal shaped handbags.

“I hadn’t read it since grade school, and it’s such a good story. And you don’t realize all the existing names that are in that book, like Starbuck,” the designer said.

Per usual, Browne worked with classic tweeds, tailoring and proportions, showing elongated single and double-breasted jackets with pleated skirts, and cropped sweaters or twinsets with low-waist pencil skirts for the Gen Z set. Micro minidresses made from suiting fabric also looked fresh with cable-knit Thom Browne tights and duck shoes.

Dashes of pastel pink and pale gray kept things light, as did maritime scenes rendered in beautiful toiles.

But putting aside his love of texture, embellishment and repp stripes, Browne can tailor a mean all-black look. There are a few of them in the collection, one a lady coat, micro minidress and matte black tights ensemble, and another a razor-sharp coat with pants suit, all chic as hell. Those are already in Los Angeles, and could be coming to a red carpet soon, following the brand’s succession of celebrity dressing hits.

Keeping an eye toward seasonless dressing, there was outerwear to launch in May/June, too, including down-filled overcoats in solid gray flannel or with a whale of a seafaring tale stitched on top. They were reminiscent of haute flotation devices. And the Hector bag was made over as a handsome merman.

“He’s always turned into some type of animal without my getting his approval, but he seems fine with that,” deadpanned Browne. What an agreeable dog.

Back to “Moby Dick,” and what he is most taken with in the story: “Just the brutal reality of it,” said the designer, who also showed a whale-shaped satchel.

That may not be the most auspicious message when one is about to enter a new year with economic storm clouds gathering.

“I’m always the optimist,” Browne counseled. “Even in regard to China still being closed and the stores having challenging moments there, I’m always the type to say, ‘let’s look forward to when they do open and everyone rushes to the stores.’ You can’t do much about it, so you have to just navigate through and keep everybody positive.”

Spoken like a true captain. Rah-rah.

Thom Browne RTW Fall 2022

Thom Browne RTW Fall 2022

Welcome to Thom Browne’s Island of Misfit Toys. 
On Friday evening in New York, Browne unveiled his fall men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collection, filled with classic-meets-conceptualized takes on children’s toys, rooted in a message of optimistic individuality. 
“I always feel like New York is the city everyone comes to find or create themselves,” Browne said during a preview on Wednesday. “Almost in a way, [like] the old Christmas cartoon — the Island of Misfit Toys from Rudolph. It’s a place where you can be true to yourself and comfortable. This collection, in a really strong way, I wanted to celebrate that. We are living in a world where people are so much more accepting, and it’s an inspiring time we’re living in.”

For the show in a sunlit space on the second floor of the Javits Center, Browne continued his well-known theatrics with 500 teddy bears in gray suits and matching gray chairs with the signature three stripes. Leading them was a larger-than-life teddy bear master of ceremonies in a cape, top hat and with an earring in one ear.

“The collection is based on toys,” Browne said at the preview. “Half is conceptualized versions of clothing, based on Slinkys, a toy box, a jack-in-the-box, little wooden blocks and little cars. Half is on the ‘adult version’ of those toys. The adults are coming to the show to find their corresponding toy, and their corresponding toy is their true self. In a way, because the toys in the collection are so individual and unique to what the object is, I think it represents each individual being a unique, true individual.”

The show began with Browne’s “adults” section, featuring hallmarks of his 20-year heritage with a play on menswear fabrics — from herringbones to windowpanes — in a multitude of layered-up genderless suiting silhouettes. A sharply tailored multicheck topcoat with repp stripe silk piping used the same repp stripe on the inside panels of its multicolor pleated skirt, creating a playful effect in motion. Repetition is key in Browne’s world and fall’s adult lineup continued the concept.
“Twenty years into my collection, seeing those classic ideas that really haven’t had to change that much and feel really new every season, it really speaks to the importance of the conceptualized ideas that I do, because it gives those classic ideas life every season,” the designer said. 
Browne’s second act — the toys — played to his couture-like sensibility, with equal whimsy and craftsmanship.
“As conceptual as an idea is, I want to make sure people see it’s made as beautifully as it can,” he explained. And was it.
A “Broken Slinky” look with accordion sleeves falling out of its mixed tweed jacket and mixed repp-and-check accordion-pleated skirt stole the show, especially with its Slinky-inspired Hector the dog handbag and platform shoes. There was a larger-than-life lobster corseted dress with patchwork bell sleeves, an XXL cricket sweater — quite literally reminiscent in shape, of a tennis ball; a quilted and embroidered “Rubik’s Cube” multicolored patchwork jacket, and lots more. Every look was finished with nods to childhood nostalgia — clown-inspired makeup, bubbled hair buns and bulbous knit caps, plenty of playful platform footwear (with children’s block heels), and toy-inspired handbags ranging from jack-in-the-boxes to wooden blocks and oversized stuffed animals.
“New Yorkers, meet your true selves,” a speaker boomed at the finale as Browne’s adults met their toy counterparts. And with another beautiful collection, Browne’s moral of his toy story came to life.
Now go play.

Thom Browne’s Seeks to Inspire With a Vision of Solitude

Thom Browne’s Seeks to Inspire With a Vision of Solitude

Pull up a chair, grab the popcorn and settle in — Thom Browne is taking you on a journey.
The designer has created a 30-minute film that checks all the boxes he has become known for: American heritage-inspired fashion, gender-fluid silhouettes and sports references.

Thom Browne Spring 2022 
Courtesy Photo

The film, which was shown Sunday morning during Paris Men’s Fashion Week, builds on the movies he created for his last two collections: the first in the L.A. Coliseum last October for his spring 2021 line that featured Olympic athletes, and the second one in March that featured Lindsey Vonn skiing down Solitude Mountain in Park City, Utah, in a Thom Browne tuxedo to showcase the fall line.
This version, while just as dramatic, spotlights a single figure — Dominique Hollington, a model and marathon runner, who has worked with Browne for more than a decade.

“He’s one of the guys I’ve used in my shows for a long time and he’s a runner,” Browne told WWD in a virtual interview from Milan. “It was important for me to work with somebody I’d known for a long time. He’s a really young guy, but there’s something really old soul about him. You really felt like this was a true story and he was living this life. I didn’t realize how perfect he was for this until I saw the initial footage and I really believed it.”

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The film, titled “Looking Forward to Tomorrow,” opens with a panoramic shot of an open field and the only sounds are those of birds chirping. Eventually, a lone runner is spotted way off in the distance and the viewer watches while he makes his way through the field on a dirt path created by tire tracks. Hollington is wearing compression tights and top in Browne’s signature gray with red, white and blue accents.
The path ultimately leads him to an open wooden box that Browne created in the middle of field and which replicates his bedroom, complete with a bed, table and chair.
“The initial idea I had was being in the middle of nowhere,” Browne said of the location outside Santa Fe, N.M. “I think there was something really special about conceptualizing how he lived and where he lived — just the beauty of the nothingness is such a part of the film.”
After a good night’s sleep, Hollington dresses in a Thom Browne seersucker jacket and skirt, tops it off with a straw hat, laces on sneakers, puts a shoulder strap bag on his back, grabs a suitcase and sets out walking. He winds up at a coliseum structure where the scene and the music changes. Hollington, the other athletes and the crowd are transformed into figures created from circles, squares, ovals and triangles. These figures compete in sports ranging from swimming and cycling to gymnastics. The last sport is the marathon, where Hollington’s figure is eventually victorious. He then returns to his solitary home in the field.
“I’ve gotten really interested in being able to create moods and show how I approach things in different ways over this year and a half,” Browne said of his move toward movies. “With film, there’s something really special in creating something that can last and tell a story — and that’s what I wanted to do. It was a story to speak to what really inspires you. To me, it’s athletes at the height of the Games but also someone who is confident in their own being and being by themselves. That’s really what this story is all about. Of course, it’s about a runner who has competed against the same runner for his whole career but is very comfortable living his own life and very singularly focused on doing something really well.”
Browne said that although the compression tights and sneakers are new to the collection, the rest of the pieces are familiar. And by having Hollington wear a skirt, it reinforces a direction he feels strongly about.

“The accessories are ideas that have been around for a while and the seersucker has been around since Day One,” Browne said. “And I love the idea of the pleated skirt becoming a part of a man’s wardrobe.”

Thom Browne Spring 2022 
Courtesy Photo

But since Browne is planning to show in New York in September to support to his longtime partner Andrew Bolton, who is curating a show on American fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, this effort was not intended to be a collection reveal.
“Because I’m doing the show in September, I wanted the clothes to be part of his life, but I didn’t want it to be a big part of the story,” Browne said. “I wanted who he was and what he does to be what the film’s all about.”
The film also allowed Browne to remain involved in Paris Men’s Fashion Week, where he’s shown his collection for the past few years. “I feel like I always need to be doing something,” he said. “I had the idea and I really felt strongly about bringing the idea to reality. I love being in Paris and it’s important that I always have a presence in the men’s week in Paris. But I also feel that it’s interesting that I show things differently. Of course, I can do in-person shows and big productions in person, but this being a new approach and image piece is also something that I feel strongly about for men’s wear.”
Browne wouldn’t reveal what he has in the works for New York, but said: “It’s going to be really special. I really put the pressure on myself to do something that is going to make the world see there’s a lot of interesting things happening in America.
“But this film speaks for itself and I want people to just fall into the beauty of it and the solitude of it. The quiet nature of the film and the length of it really speaks to just enjoying it and falling into this beautiful, singular world,” he concluded.

Exclusive: Thom Browne to Return to New York in September

Exclusive: Thom Browne to Return to New York in September

Thom Browne is coming back to New York City — at least for one season.
The designer said that in a dramatic show of support for his longtime partner Andrew Bolton’s upcoming show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he will hold his fashion show in the city as well. Bolton is head curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. As reported, the Met is planning a two-pronged, yearlong celebration, the first of which will be held in September and underlined by a fashion exhibition. Called “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” the exhibition will serve to celebrate the Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary and will explore the modern vocabulary of American fashion. It will also coincide with New York Fashion Week, which will start on Sept. 8 and run through Sept. 12.

“I decided to return to New York to support Andrew’s upcoming show at the Met,” Browne said. “I think it is so important that all American designers recognize the importance of Andrew’s vision. This celebration of American fashion will be such a great showcase of the true talent that exists here in America.”
Browne said that his plan is to show his men’s and women’s collections together, but beyond that, the specifics have yet to be worked out. His last two shows were film extravaganzas, the first in the L.A. Coliseum for his spring ’21 collection featuring Olympic athletes, and the second one with Lindsey Vonn skiing down Solitude Mountain in Park City, Utah, in a Thom Browne tuxedo for the fall line.

The designer said that he’s not yet sure whether any celebrities will be involved in the September show, but he expects it will be memorable nonetheless. “I am not sure what and how I will be showing in New York, but I am sure that I am going to make it worthy of my return to New York. I will try not to disappoint.”
But don’t get too accustomed to seeing Thom Browne show in New York. He said he’s going back to Paris when it’s safe to do so.
“After this show in New York in September, I plan on returning to Paris where I have been showing my collections for quite some time now,” he said. “But I am still always so proud to be an American designer showing in Paris.”
He continued: “Paris has been so important to me as a designer — and for my evolution and growth as a designer. [The city has] always embraced the provocative ideas in my collections and, also, it has challenged me to live up to the standards of showing in Paris.”
He said that as an American designer in Paris, he feels it’s imperative to always be on top of his game. “It is important that I represent American fashion in the strongest and most important way possible,” he said. “I want American fashion to be proud.”
He will be seeking the same result for his New York return.
“The format of my show in September will most certainly be a combination of what I have been experimenting with in the last year and something physical, which I so love. The short films for the last collections have been a challenge and a lot of fun to create, and this I want to carry on into the future of how I show my collections. But an in-person experience, being able to show the collections, with all of the special details and emotions, in real time, is always important and irreplaceable.”

Lindsey Vonn on set in Utah for Thom Browne’s fall 2021 collection film. 

His last two shows were applauded for their creativity and ability to blend fantasy with drama. And he hopes to be able to re-create that in New York this fall — whatever the format may be.
“I will never stop challenging myself to create fantasy and beauty and provocation in my collections, whether it be live or digital,” he said.
Browne said that showcasing his collection in a film format was a learning experience for him and his team. “The most important thing that we all have learned is how to challenge ourselves to do things differently, but never forgetting about what we have done well in the past — that we focus on what we can do and forget about what we cannot.”
Although the pandemic has dramatically changed how designers show their collections, Browne believes that so long as they remain true to their core values, the shows — in whatever format they appear — will continue to have value.
“The most important thing to me is that every designer should use his or her own individual voice to tell a story in whatever way suits them, to stay true to who you are and truly authentic,” he said. “And the story being told should be important, entertaining, thought-provoking, beautiful and uniquely and personally authentic.”

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