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.
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.
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
Festive Home Days
For The Cold Days
Gifts That Give Back
The All-Time Classics
Can’t Go Wrong Gifts
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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.
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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.