In my opinion, there are very few designers who can actually make a strong case about needing a physical show, and Thom Browne is one of them.
It's not that he hasn't proven himself perfectly capable of translating his unique sensibility to digital — his Spring 2021 Lunar Olympics film was particularly charming — so much as it is that he's incredibly adept at building an emotion around his collections. If you give Browne the space (and, one presumes, the budget), he can put on a piece of theatre that will imbue the clothes with an entire story, a life that existed before and will continue to exist after those precious few moments on the runway.
All this to say: Yes, I was moved to tears at his Spring 2022 show, held in New York City on Saturday. Already, it felt special to have Browne back in the city after years of him showing in Paris. (Though it makes sense for his brand, it's a big loss for the American fashion industry.) But then Browne crafted a world that sucked the audience in, from watching the grey-suited statues in his bachelors' garden come to life to seeing the artful blossoming of color in a second batch, all the more impressive when you consider that the effect of muscles and drapery on each was created quite literally by sculpting layers of tulle.
It was a staggering amount of clothes (Vogue's Steff Yotka reports it numbered at around 200 pieces) and yet somehow didn't feel like enough. By the time the pegasi rolled back through on their penny farthings to wave farewell (perhaps you had to be there?), I was in tears, not ready to leave Browne's magical world. From most other designers, it would've felt excessive, in need of an edit. From Browne, it was perfect.
See the complete Thom Browne Spring 2022 collection in the gallery below: