Fearless, or foolish?
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What started as a subversion of the runway format, with prim and polished female “guests” interrupting a show as they dashed around to find their seats, ended with a parade of tweed jock straps — and one racy pair of denim chaps.
The “guests” — models including Marisa Berenson — were dressed as old-fashioned front-row socialites running late for the show, and once they took their seats the real spectacle unfolded.
Male models, some with spiky punk hairdos, strode down the catwalk in a lineup of sparkly tweed ensembles: suits with shiny gold buttons and low-slung skirts; crop tops and minis; oversize jackets, and long, slim coats, all in a rainbow of Easter egg pastels.
It was an homage to Chanel but also to Browne’s creativity: The fabrics were developed in France specifically for the brand, and many came edged in sequins or festooned with tiny white tufts, like bits of Peter Cottontail’s nether regions.
Some of the pieces showcased intricate beading and embellishment, as in a long red and blue check coat with a winding gold rope and anchor embroidery and a black tuxedo suit with seams that were edged with tiny sparkles.
Browne covered every surface with his springtime tweeds: loafers, briefcases, boxy handbags with red, white and blue chains and, of course, the jock straps, which formed the core of the collection.
“It wasn’t particularly Chanel, but more an homage to French couture shows. When I think of couture and France, I think of tweeds,” Browne said during a cocktail on the hotel rooftop.
He wanted to combine those fine fabrics with traditional tailoring and sports references, too — and then hang everything from jockstraps.
“I thought, why not? The quality and the play and proportion was a lot of fun, and I wanted to push it. I think it’s time for people to start pushing it a little further again.
“Even with the fabrics and the tailoring, the guys looked really masculine. I think it’s important that we all recognize the world we live in, and how much more evolved everybody is — in certain ways,” Browne said.
He is used to putting men in skirts. On Sunday night, his front row was filled with pleated, swingy styles dangling over knobby knees and bare (sometimes hairy) legs, but he certainly pushed it this time around.
Skirts were slung so low that the stretchy straps, and cups, were fully visible, as were lower abs and butt cracks. Instead of the usual finale, two men dressed as a bride and groom, wearing coordinating short capes, marched down Browne’s aisle.
They were followed by a cowboy dressed in chaps, a pierced denim phallus, and a cropped jacket who wiggled around to Madonna tunes.
It was certainly a departure for the usually buttoned-up Browne, and may have looked silly to some. But with young Millennials and Gen Zers of all genders swapping clothes, and no longer bound by traditional labels, Browne may have just catapulted his aesthetic straight into the future.
And he certainly left everyone talking.
Launch Gallery: Thom Browne Men's Spring 2023