Thom Browne’s first proper show of his women’s collection was just that — a spectacle from a tailor turned showman. He transformed the New York Public Library into a church with a convent’s worth of models dressed like nuns. They marched in to “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?,” covered up except for the gigantic fake eyelashes peeking out from beneath their habits. One by one the girls were liberated from their cloaks by a pair of altar boys, only to reveal clothes that were the real cross to bear. Browne encased each woman in ultra-stiff, tailored layers done in exaggerated proportions with a preppy, varsity theme. There were shrunken suits in mismatched plaids, tipped blazers with giant peplums and layered maxi coats with shirttail hems, some of which will be wearable once the look is dismantled. Restriction was everywhere: the models walked without moving their arms, turtlenecks were pulled up over their mouths, and molded bubble skirts and tops looked about as comfortable as a straight jacket. That seemed precisely the point. One of the finale looks actually included a skirt made out of a cage of red and blue ribbon. Was it amusing? Maybe for those who worship at Browne’s altar.

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