Thom Browne was clearly thinking inside the box for this collection, in which everything from jackets to pants was rendered in square or rectangular shapes. With his sinister presentation, which featured blindfolded men wielding hammers chained to the wooden structure of a house, the designer appeared to be making a comment on organized religion, with outfits that evoked traditional Amish and Hasidic Jewish garb.
Stiff shoulder pads gave a ramrod line to jackets and coats in quilted gray fabrics, some featuring an eight-pointed star pattern, others embellished with strips of fur or layered over long white cotton shirts. From wide-brimmed hats to slim fabric-covered briefcases, accessories were in the same Lego-like mode. Browne has been credited with revolutionizing men’s suits, but it was hard to see how this conceptual exercise might translate in the secular world.
Browne made a leap in the public consciousness Monday — but not with his core men’s wear. Instead, it was his women’s collection that got center stage when First Lady Michelle Obama wore an ensemble of his designs for President Barack Obama’s public swearing-in ceremony. Whether it boosts his signature men’s business remains to be seen — certainly his conceptual looks will be a hard sell.