BY PHILIPPE POURHASHEMI
Ode to Unity
Thom Browne’s Co-ed show delivered a hopeful and upbeat message, which was poetic and childlike at once
You can pretty much always count on American designer Thom Browne to come up with a quirky and eccentric way to showcase his clothes. This time, some of his models were covered with goofy animal heads, and perched on dangerous platforms, fully covered with fancy gaiters. Once the mythical figures had done their runway turn, two wooden doors opened to reveal a parade of striking duos, all dressed in identical outfits. Was this about marriage or fidelity among couples? “I wasn’t thinking about marriage actually, but wanted to show my men and women together as completely united. It was a message of hope and optimism” the designer said backstage.
It was hard not to smile watching Browne’s fantasy couples walking down the runway, with their cute pet leather bags and perfectly polished outfits. Animal figures kept popping-up on serious trench coats, padded jackets and classic double-breasted coats. If the animals could be read as a nod to domesticity, they also evoked childlike memories of cartoons and animated films, taking us back to a naive and innocent time of visual pleasures.
This was somewhat contradicted by the designer’s square -and quite imposing- shoulder line, which he used for coats and tailored jackets alike. Texture and decoration were key within the collection, from sequin embellished wool and padded nylon to several garments featuring intricate patchwork techniques. A landscape coat and matching pants showing polar bears in a winter landscape -all made of different materials artfully pieced together- was a technical feat and genuine standout look.
Once you had processed the show’s theatrics, you were left with incredibly chic and timeless clothes that summarized the season’s need for protection and rigor. When The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” appeared at the end of the soundtrack, you knew the designer had had fun coming up with this one. The positive message of the collection was, in fact, a contagious one.