I have followed Mr. Browne’s work since the beginning, in 2004, and was completely in awe of the sense of humour and and wild camp he brought to his fashion. I remember his early shows where models skated on a recreation of a skating rink in an art gallery on 10th Avenue in New York wearing formal suits, or played an imaginary tennis game in large ball gowns. That was then.
Since moving to Paris under new Japanese ownership, Mr. Browne’s shows have grown more extravagant–both in terms of the grandness of the staging and the ostentatiousness of the clothes. This last one, shown Sunday night at the Galerie de Minéralogie, was no exception. Lost in this expansion is that secret charm, that sense of humour as he deconstructed the rigid codes of menswear to the point where we had to laugh–and then take his proposition very seriously.
Yet underneath the punk spikes, S&M masks, and the over-sized football shapes were very classic Thom Browne garments: a grey single breasted jacket and long skirt, a green plaid jacket with padded pants, and a cropped cardigan with stripes on one sleeve. But what to make of the grey merkins protruding from the models’ pants?
Had this been a more intimate presentation, the exaggerated proportions–in menswear proportion is really the only key element that designers can joggle each season–probably would have been more convincing as a real silhouette for clothes. But somehow, the magnitude of the show itself dwarfed the exaggerated proportions of half of the looks shown.