Thom Browne is brimming with projects: an art exhibition opening to the public next week during Art Basel Miami, a new house in Manhattan, and his first coed show set to take place in Paris next March.
They all fed, in different ways, into his pre-fall collection, which served as a bridge toward that upcoming men’s and women’s show by further blurring the boundaries between the two genders. This was most evident in a tailored group of what he termed “ticket pocket” jackets and coats, paired with oversized, high-waisted pants.
“The pieces are exactly the same for both men and women. They weren’t tailored in a different way or tailored down for the girls, because I wanted to even be a little bit more oversize,” he said.
Browne and his partner, Andrew Bolton, head curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, plan to spend the next 18 months renovating their new home, a 15-room town house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side originally built in 1920 for a member of the wealthy Vanderbilt family.
“It’s, I think, one of the most perfect Georgian houses, and Georgian architecture for me is so beautifully clean and modern, in a way, that there’s not much you have to do to it other than bring the bones back to what it was when it was built, and that’s what Andrew and I are doing,” Browne said.
That Twenties aesthetic informed his elevated take on classic American sportswear. Browne channeled a Gatsby-esque vibe with drop-waisted skirts in handmade tweeds and Shetland wool sweaters with argyle motifs. He added his signature quirky touch via intarsia motifs of elephants, lions, zebras and giraffes.
Outerwear was firmly anchored in the here and now, with technical treatments adding a high-gloss sheen to a navy and white-striped rain slicker, and down jackets equipped to brave blizzards. Presumably, Browne won’t be needing one in Miami, where he’s presenting an installation at the Moore Building.
“In my shows I’ve had installations for the longest time, so it’s just an extension of what I have been doing for almost 15 years, but this is the first solely in the art world and it’s interesting to me, because it does stand on its own and it’s a different audience,” he said. “It’ll be interesting to see what people say.”