Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
PARIS–You cannot say that the designer Thom Browne isn’t having a great deal of fun. Inside the sweltering heat of Maxim’s on Sunday at dusk, Mr. Browne transformed the famed Parisian restaurant/nightclub into a cabaret where the audience sat around tables and waiters served Laurent Perrier champagne.
A male couple dressed in identical navy sleeveless coats and shorts pants mounted the stage and sat on the table and as they sipped on champagne. There was a loud voice singing the original “Cabaret” song in multiple languages and a model in a stone sleeveless seersucker jacket and matching shorts with attached long fringes, as well as a bucket hat with fringes and a coat draped over his shoulder. That was only a starter look.
Then came a silver layered fringed jumpsuit with a silver coat, a navy sheer organza side stripe dress over a shirt and shorts, a sheer white short slip dress with black fringes over a white sleeveless tuxedo suit, a black sleeveless tuxedo jacket with short black fringe sleeves and orange silk underwear, a black sheer organza tunic over orange shorts, and a black beaded poncho with two separate sides connected by tricolor straps. Several of the guys wore long knee length pearl necklaces over their elongated suits, pushing the traditional neckline to below the knee.
These looks made for a great show and sure they are Mr. Browne’s armaments torpedoing the rigid codes and the confinement that is menswear, even today. That Mr. Browne is still able to poke fun at traditional men dressing methodology reflects how resistant men are to changes, even small steps.
But fun aside, there is serious business to be done with the new silhouettes, like the wide and padded shoulder pinstriped jackets, the wide shoulder and tapered waist grey cotton striped jackets, and the boxy black and white striped jacket with high button stance and rounded lapels. The long grey sleeveless vest over a charcoal grey sleeveless single-breast is great, and so is that double padded shoulder pinstripe jacket.
I am not exactly sure (you may read that as resistance to change) about the new elongated cotton pinstripe jackets with the lapels coming down past the knee and buttoned at the crotch, worn with either a skinny trouser with stitching in the back or a drop-waist trouser held up with garter belts and an overcoat buttoned near the knee. Will this elongated silhouette revolutionize menswear like the shrunken short pantsuits, now the designer’s signature, did?