Having just dressed Michelle Obama at the inauguration, there was much anticipation for Thom Browne — still better known for his men’s tailoring — to make a strong statement for the opposite sex. He delivered with his usual theatrical runway presentation that showed off his construction skills with over-the top creations, which, while costumey to the nth degree, were at once romantic and slightly disturbing.
Inside the West Chelsea venue, men were lying on a series of beds dressed in Browne’s gray suits, blindfolded and bound at the wrists with red ribbon. They looked dead or at the very least heavily sedated. The models in white tights embroidered with three-dimensional roses, their faces made up Kabuki style, slowly walked the runway. They caressed the men with bundles of red roses.
Not that Browne needed any such show gimmicks — many of these clothes had the same dramatic impact. He played up the shoulders, making them extra large and boxy like Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts. On some of his coats and dresses, he cinched the waists and accentuated the hips, Elizabethan-style.
Browne mainly used men’s tie silk jacquards and fabrics like Donegal and Prince of Wales tweeds. Some were exquisitely embroidered with Chantilly lace. While the commercial value was not always clear, the elaborate workmanship was impressive for what’s emerging as something of a Thom Browne moment.