The fresh smell of shaved lumber, which covered the floor of the Tennis Club near the stadium for Paris Saint Germain (currently the top seeded team in France), gave a hint of what was to come at Thom Browne‘s fall menswear show. It was a barn-raising-themed set (yep), complete with wood frame structures and multiple black doors. The entry door featured an upside down steel cross. This sure wasn’t Little House on the Prairie.
Blindfolded models were chained to the wooden frames with black leather shackles, each using a black hammer to bang methodically on the frame throughout the entire presentation. They were dressed in the classic Thom Browne slim gray short pantsuit, the bread and butter of Browne’s business. However fantastical the narrative of each of his shows, you can always count on seeing models wearing this uniform, as sort of a reality check.
All the models wore black or grey felt hats and dark sunglasses, and carried a light grey slim business case as they opened and closed each the doors of the set and made their way around the house. Their outfits were a contrast to the simple setting: A cropped black fur coat was worn over a grey jacquard jacket, a grey square cape was worn with a Prince de Galles long coat with flared short pants. And these were among the more streamlined looks!
Mr. Browne didn’t employ the metaphors of construction without reason. Against the models hammering imaginary nails, he built a new silhouette–a broad and very elevated shoulder for jackets and coats and a short wide-legged pant.
The designer could have done this show in a more straightforward manner without dragging us to the outskirts of Paris on a snowy Sunday evening–but then we would have been left yearning for that creativity and imagination.