Thom Browne S/S 2018
Mood board: Designers were in a contemplative mood this season. At Officine Générale, creative director Pierre Mahéo handed out a letter explaining the self-doubt he had experienced as the creator of wearable, smart clothes in a sea of quick-fire trends; Rei Kawakubo’s jubilant ‘what’s on the inside that maters’ collection for her Comme des Garçons Homme Plus label turned both garments and our emotions inside-out. Thom Browne decided to smack the archetypal codes of menswear and womenswear together. The show (nay performance) was a ‘why not!’ to everybody else’s ‘why?’ Why not put men in what is traditionally considered to be women’s attire? Why not apply seemingly feminine proportions and details to men’s tailoring? Well, why not indeed. The result was a proposition for menswear that felt provocatively rational.
Finishing touches: Each of the 46 looks was modelled by men who walked the catwalk wearing Browne’s classic wingtip brogue with an added high heel. Three glass cases stood in the middle of the space, in each a bronzed pair of shoes; ‘mens’ brogues; a pair of tiny baby slippers; and then the heeled, feminised style. Each model glanced momentarily at the child’s booties in a symbolic gesture designed to reinstate a relationship to a time when clothes weren’t so gendered. The sharp clothes were of course, well cut. Browne’s cropped jackets, sack sport-coats and skirts were perversely recognisable in new ways.
Best in show: From the blazers and chesterfield coats to cardigans, pleated skirts and trousers, S/S 2018 is precise and mildly subversive with its bracelet sleeves, inside girdles and high buttoning necks. All in a somber palette of greys, navy blue, white, camel. For the more binary, Browne’s smart tailoring was still here; there were higher vents in jackets lined with his signature tricolore taping. His message wasn’t shocking or radically new. But that was the point.