TIME FOR THOM: Chatting with Thom Browne at the FIT Couture Council’s annual luncheon in his honor earlier this month, Fern Mallis told him she thought it might be time for him to pull up a chair for a Q&A at 92Y.
“I told him, ‘I want to talk to you at the Y. What do you think?’ He said he’d love to. I said [cajolingly], ‘And you promise you’ll talk?’” Mallis said of the Jan. 10 event.
The antithesis of publicity-seeking, Browne is more apt to let his collections speak for him. But recent interviews have drawn back the curtains on what is reportedly nearing a $125 million business. He started the company in 2001, introduced the first men’s wear collection in 2003 and a women’s one in 2011. While some don’t understand the size of his company, Mallis said his decision to move his women’s runway show to Paris from New York has furthered interest in the designer. And his monthlong residency at Colette opens Monday. “There is just a lot of conversation about Thom. People are really intrigued by him,” Mallis said.
“There is nothing safe about what Thom puts forth and into the industry. Since day one, he’s been unapologetic about it. He doesn’t follow any conventional patterns about what he does or the way he presents his shows with the staging of his collections,” Mallis said. “It’s like going to theater. It’s like, what made him decide to be a designer and not a producer or opera director?”
The Fashion Icons host will have no shortage of questions. “I want to know, ‘Where do you get these ideas? What do you do when you’re not there to bring this to the table? When you see this do you think, “Well, this is extraordinary but no one is wearing this man’s clothes.”’ Then you learn he has an extraordinary business and the quality of the people who buy his clothes are really the most interesting, successful people.”
But Mallis has another assignment to tend to — a Dec. 5 talk with Eileen Fisher. Recalling how during her run in Nora Ephron’s play “Love, Loss and What I Wore” an offhand line about Eileen Fisher always cracked up the audience, Mallis said the designer’s recognizability is closely tied to the ease and simplicity of her clothes. “She also does her own thing and it is very much her thing,” Mallis said.
So much so, that her sustainability efforts are the focus of “Eileen Fisher Circular by Design” at the Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn. On view through Sunday, the “Tiny Factory” references how the company has taken back 800,000 pieces of worn Eileen Fisher clothing in the past eight years. Mallis planned to check it out Thursday afternoon.