In the World of Thom Browne Making of the Spring 2020 Collection Fashion Photography

Thom Browne’s Seersucker World

In the World of Thom Browne: Making of the
Spring 2020 Collection

Thom Browne has released a documentary called “In the World of Thom Browne” detailing the making of his Spring 2020 collection and women’s fashion show. Elaborating on the creative process with behind-the-scenes footage leading up to the show, Browne reveals the inspiration and philosophy behind the work.

There is a reason for everything. I do like to create a world around the clothing.

— Thom Browne, Creative Director of Thom Browne

Browne starts by describing how the Spring 2020 collection was inspired by 18th century dress with a focus on panniers (or side hoops), which have been deconstructed and modernized through the use of seersucker; seersucker is a fabric that is woven so that some threads bunch together imparting a wrinkled appearance. Panniers were support structures woman wore around the waist to make a dress spread wide from side-to-side, with the front and back left flat; extremely wealthy women such as Marie Antionette had dresses so wide they couldn’t fit through the doors of their own homes without turning sideways. Browne’s collection features panniers in every conceivable form, both short and long, see-through with pantaloons peeking underneath, and moved down from the waist to middle of the leg creating fascinating new silhouettes. Browne describes how he approaches these fantastical concoctions as follows:

My job is to make people think, make people see sometimes classic ideas more interestingly. It’s not always for wearability, it’s not always for commercial reasons. It’s more to move the needle forward in regards to seeing clothing differently.

— Thom Browne, Creative Director of Thom Browne

Part of what makes the documentary so insightful is hearing Browne describe the process of reconciling this unadulterated and avant-garde creativity with the inevitable financial concerns of running a business; after all building a fantasy world of seersucker flowers and fountains, and populating it with towering enchantresses must surely cost a pretty penny. Browne is insightful and concise about balancing the realities of commercial concerns with his unique artistic visions:

It’s important that it starts from a pure design point of view, not a commercial point of view…in turn there is a lot that can be taken from the collection and interpreted commercially because you also have to be able to support the work that you do….the business is also something that has to be considered, but after the idea of true creativity.

— Thom Browne, Creative Director of Thom Browne

The documentary effectively captures these moments of “true creativity” and also shares the conceptual thinking behind Browne’s seersucker world. The documentary is supported by short films for both the women’s and men’s collections, as well as lookbooks showing the ready-to-wear collection. The films “Enchanté” and “King of the Garden” expand on Browne’s world, like short and carefully curated art exhibits or freshly-baked delicacies from a master chef. One features a soundtrack of harpsichord music and the other an orchestral Danny Elfman-like score; both indulge the viewer in delicious details such as the couture-worthy sculptural tailoring, layered headpieces, and dolphin and seahorse appliqué. The lookbooks show how Browne has translated the runway looks into a more commercial realm, simplifying the constructions to be more feasible for ready-to-wear while maintaining the materiality and whimsicality of hand-made pieces from the show.

When the films and photos are viewed in their entirety, one is immersed in the world of Browne’s creations, and it is a wonder-filled place to luxuriate. Visually breathtaking and intellectually inspiring, this cornucopia of creativity arrives at the perfect time…because after weeks of quarantine-imposed isolation, it is likely we could all use a healthy dose of inspiration. What else is there to say except sit back and enjoy!