Once Upon A Time. Thom Browne SS22

No one in New York does opera-level drama like Thom Browne. At his spring 2022 presentation, which was an artistic performance and a fashion spectacle at the same time, the audience could be carried off in awe in so many directions: pegasuses rode penny-farthings, a couple of bachelors haunted a raw wood house, models turned from shrubs into statues… just wow. The presentation began with a voice-over about a couple of bachelors stuck indoors, looking out over an aging garden. Classic statuary, the tradition of carving a marble block into a contrapposto David, charted the show’s three parts: part one, twenty Platonic suiting ideals; part two, the pure marble slab as tunic and maxi, fastened with a hook-and-eye up the back; part three, a trick of the eye, a flex of artistry, full force in tulle. At the end, the show’s two bachelors chained their gates, unzipped each other’s gray wool dresses, and orbited each other, never quite touching hands. Passion thrives in the littlest gestures; Browne’s show was full of beauty to pluck your heartstrings and stoke your sartorial flame. And oh, the details! Those rainbow-color tulle dresses that made up the finale, with trompe l’oeil drapery and abs (the exact Greek statues Browne visited were in The Met), were not painted, but dozens of layers of tulle built up like a topography of the human form. Teddy Quinlivan’s long sheath had an arm sewn to the torso, and the models who walked in the show’s first passage were layered in at least four Browne tailoring separates. This show was not only awesome for its theatricality but for its scale; other designers would struggle to make a single garment to Browne’s standard. Browne made about 200. Each of those 200 shirts, pants, skirts, suits, jackets, bags, shoes, and hand-made gray flowers was, in not-so-coded language, a love letter to American fashion. Browne moved his show back to New York for one season only in support of his partner Andrew Bolton’s exhibition “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” opening at The Met this week. 

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Haunted Glamour. Thom Browne AW21

Most designers go for their signature codes this season – which basically means commercial and safe pieces. Thom Browne also went back to his core, but comparing to other brands (especially American ones), there’s nothing banal about his latest offering. For autumn-winter 2021, Browne’s men’s and women’s collection is an outrageous flexing of his prowess, garments made on such an extreme scale they’re almost overwhelming to look at, let alone think about wearing. There is not a shred of coziness, comfort, or relaxation here. If anything, Browne’s silhouettes have become stricter, more confining, more formal, unapologetically dramatic and glamorous. His starting points are always deceptively simple, like fusing black-tie clothing with sport apparel. But in result, we’ve got cinched and corseted, fanned out skirts, and shrunk jackets to little shrugs layered over voluminous wool piqué and flannel shirtdresses. A ball skirt that looks like layered puffers took more than 100 pattern pieces to make. A pleated trench coat required 209 patterns. The most mind-boggling pieces are made of curved plissé, inspired, Browne says, by the lines ice-skaters make on the rink and those that slalom skiers do as they race down the mountain. Underneath those bubble helmets and big-time bows are models of all genders, but Browne insists gender really doesn’t matter. He’s making beautiful, at points haunted clothes for everyone.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The Essentials Gift Guide

This year, I’ve decided to create dream gift guides that might make it easier for you to go (and filter) through the festive season. Get ready for a selection of beautiful items that will spark joy and last for years. The ones that will certainly please one’s senses and deliver heavenly feelings. Treat your loved ones and yourself! Here’s the curated edit of the most covetable delights, which are the ultimate essentials.

Stay Safe & Warm

Bottega Veneta shearling scarf, Byredo perfume, Thom Browne cashmere gloves & Marine Serre face mask.

Festive Home Days

The Elder Statesman two-tone cashmere knit jumper, Balenciaga cotton track pants & JW Anderson slip-on mules

Leopard Allure

Batsheva puffed-sleeve mini dress, Paul Smith leopard-intarsia socksTom Ford leopard print pumps & A.P.C. cardigan

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TASCHEN

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For The Cold Days

Moncler + Rick Owens “Hikoville” padded coat

Comfort Zone

Marine Serre fleece tubular scarf & ERL logo socks

Gifts That Give Back

Gucci double-breasted velvet blazer, Coperni “Swipe” bag, Sophie Buhai silver earrings, Wales Bonner fair isle wool cardigan & JW Anderson kitten heels

Home Elegance

The Vampire’s Wife high-shine midi dress, Erdem merino wool and cashmere blanket & Bibi van der Velden 18kr yellow gold, Moonstone pearl and diamond ring

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NET-A-PORTER Limited

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The All-Time Classics

Lemaire cotton belted trench coat, Prada V-neck cardigan, Noir Kei Ninomiya tartan skirt, Maison Margiela “Tabi” bag & Dr. Barbara Sturm body brush.

Easy Glam

Dries Van Noten blazer, Simone Rocha pearl clutch mini bag, Manolo Blahnik double strap sandals & Mondo Mondo heart-motif crystal drop earrings

Can’t Go Wrong Gifts

The Row TR1 top handle tote bag, Maryam Nassir Zadeh scrunchie, Victoria Beckham sunglasses, Sophie Bille Brahe pearl earrings & Diptyque “Jasmin” candle.

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Here are other gift guides you might have missed – “Cozy Chic” for her, “Stay Home Glamourfor her and “Be Boldfor him!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

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TASCHEN

Dream Buys in Milan

Other than lots of pasta, art and Prada, Milan is of course fashion. It’s refreshing to see brands like Thom Browne emerge in Europe and labels like Balenciaga shaking up the vision of a retail space. Here’s a little dream shopping tour in the ‘fashion quartet’ of Milan’s Brera quartet… and it’s getting even better when you know that it’s 50% discount everywhere since the beginning of January!

What shocks you the most at Balenciaga are the mannequins standing at the entrance. Or rather two human corpses, which are hyperreal wax figures of two models of the brand. They are disturbing and even spooky. But it’s Demna Gvasalia’s world, so there’s no such thing as „basic”.

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Of course, Bottega Veneta is the busiest store in Milan. I overheard two women literally killing themselves for the last pair of block pumps in blue. That’s the Daniel Lee factor standing behind the brand’s accessories. Still, my heart belongs to the orange intrecciato shoulder bag.

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Off to the mountains for the holidays but still need a ball gown? The Moncler x Pierpaolo Piccioli duvet coat-dress is the only option.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II 11/12

While everybody went crazy for the Mickey Mouse capsule that hit all the Gucci stores that day, I went mad for this faux fur coat. So dramatic.

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The killer heeled boots from Rick Owens. Not sure if they are made for walking, but they will elevate any silhouette. And those amazingly draped gowns in burgundy… they look incredible.

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Thom Browne’s preppy tailoring and quirky elegance is expanding in Europe. The Milan store – kept in the brand’s signature retro office style – is filled with Thom’s classics, as well as his fashion show garments (like the blazer with Una Troubridge intarsia illustration). My favourite item? The puppy slides.

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Loewe! The details! The William de Morgan capsule! Too many things to love.

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Jil Sander’s soft minimalism is always appealing. And it’s even better when styled with those calf hair wedge boots.

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All photos by Edward Kanarecki.