Thom Browne should succeed Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel. No one else genuinely admires and adores theatrics with the same conviction. Likewise, no designer can pack so much process and detail — I mean really thorough complication — into a single garment without removing it from the practicality of this world and taking it to the swirly, alternate universe of the conceptual.
On the tail-end of New York Fashion Week, which has left many international editors wondering why the hell they’re here, that combination of performance and ability-to-execute is important. It’s the very talent that makes a good garment good.
Browne’s set mimicked a frozen pond lined with leafless trees rendered in shades of eery winter grey, freckled by two stuffed, wool penguins and a dog peeking out of an abandoned canoe. To start the show, two men dressed in head-to-toe wool came out holding two bulbs as if they were human lamp posts.
The rhythm of the 49-look collection was articulated and calculated: the first 20 looks were made entirely from varying shades of grey. The details could have blown anyone’s mind. If you blinked, you would have missed something — the boots-cum-ice skates, the fabric nails, the patchwork, the patterns, the slogans, the fabrics.
One jacket was decorated by a million layers of threaded-together buttons that looked like ostrich feathers evacuating a garment.
The middle of the show maintained all of the color of the collection with red, blue and yellow leading the charge. No coat sleeve was longer than the top of a woman’s wrist and no pants, not a single pair, hit the floor.
The final 12 looks were only black and white, renditions of “the penguin suit.”
It is incredible that so many ideas can be expressed in a single statement that doesn’t contradict itself. Thom Browne is a silent assassin, a true artist and visionary who is unapologetic about seeing a concept brought to life. Last night, it seemed as if bringing those concepts to life also brought many jaded editors back from the dead.
Photos via Vogue Runway. Feature Photo via Getty Images.