Thom Browne‘s jaw-dropping autumn-winter 2022 show added up to the pre-Met-Gala, statement-fashion buzz that’s going on all over New York right now. But Browne’s collection had little to do with Gilded Glamour (the theme of today’s gala), and more with another Metropolitan Museum Of Art’s fashion subject from a couple of years ago: Comme Des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo. Of course, Thom’s collections are always extraordinary, but this season, the signature gray wool suits went Comme – meaning conceptual, statuesque, big. And this is a major compliment for any contemporary designer. Giant yarns made up knits, some looks were pleated to resemble a slinky, and one preppy sweater was molded into a literal ball. It was all densely layered and piled up on precarious heels composed of schoolhouse blocks spelling out T-H-O-M-B-R-O-W-N-E. Then came the toys, where you could only giggle at the ballooning proportions of a lobster look and at the mania of Browne’s craft. The loveliest dolls in the dollhouse were a teal diagonally striped prom dress and a similar gown-ish green column layered atop an oversize white button down. It wasn’t messy – Browne’s patterns always meet, his hems are always tailored to immaculate precision – but it looked like it had lived a little. According to the designer, this collection is about New York as “an island of misfit toys” and the way people come to the city “to find themselves and to create themselves,” he said. The line-up was presented as a Ted Talk – cue the pun – led by model Rocky Harwell dressed as a Thom Browne teddy bear to an audience of stuffed teddies in little Thom Browne suits. Well, this is definitely one of my favourite TB collections in a while!
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.