Thom Browne presented his collection in his usual fun and quirky way. Inspired by the Bauhaus movement, that gained momentum in Germany in the early 1930s, the fashion line splices fine art with crafts in geometrical shapes and form. The fashion show took place in the New York Public Library as Browne is known to like nowhere else to showcase but what was interesting about the venue was how it complimented fashion from the thirties.
Menswear had just taken the helm for women, during this time, pioneered by the rebellious Chanel, who chose to ditch the limits of corsetry and opt for masculine looks instead. As its popularity grew through the Great Depression that gripped many countries, not just America, the trend overflew into many fashion houses picking up on suggesting suitable alternatives to the zipper and light hearted fashion scene. You could now see avant-garde shoulders, butterfly sleeves, banjo sleeves, rayon and viscose taking stronghold for fashion’s imagination.
The suit, the wonderful layers, curvaceous linear lines in grey plaid adorned drooping shoulders and pointy pockets, as long, tapered skirts, protruding hemlines, nightshade lamps adorned with floral appliqués played to the fun atmosphere of the show. Browne isn’t interested in catering to Manhattan socialites or the downtown arts scene crowd, preferring to go with the extremely wealthy instead.
But he does know a thing or two about letting his hair down when it comes to experimenting with couture and this reflects well on the space age look the models portrayed. It might look out of place in the 1930s conceptually but the Bauhaus movement was very ahead of its time and if you look into the arts-folks notebooks then, you would find fashion designers going for no other kind of revolution either.
Amorphous, puzzle pieces, hats that hide your face and your eyes, like fishnet stocking improvising for headgear, as opposed to caressing it with ribbons, in burst of blue and orange set the tone of the show – you are here for a magical ride! A black tweedy dress that flounced in peplum, a column gown dancing around with ship ropes, discs on your hemlines, or as spherical top-knots on your hair, no matter how you look at it, you can only find music-box fashion here.
It was mad! It really was but that’s the fun element right there – you want to see mirrors, mannequins, amusing sculptures on ballerina-wearing dancers because that’s treating the body as architecture right there and staying true to what you claim to have inspired you about the collection in the first place. Monochrome was the order of the day, but one cannot be expected to be bored with that when there was so much prints about, all ornate and candy – lollipops encrusted some of the collars and cuffs.
Indeed, it was almost as if a trip to Dahl’s Chocolate Factory was in order, in preppy fashion. Browne entertained you with whales and seahorses, apart from the lollipops, as Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” played the soundtrack of the show conjuring up an air of l’amour with fun elegance and candies.