In a word, Thom Browne’s collection was weird. It was a pretty morbid, pretty confusing, somewhat theatrical presentation held in the dimly-lit and eerie surrounds of a third-floor room within the beautiful New York Public Library, set to Danny Elfman’s whimsical Edward Scissorhands score. To expand – the audience waited almost twenty minutes in a darkened room looking over several open coffins filled with models in strict suits and strange head-wear playing dead. It was then announced that these girls had 'died for fashion' and that we were to witness their 'dreams for Fall/Winter 2012'. What ensued was a succession of bizarre looks that immediately brought to mind Comme des Garcons brilliantly subversive Spring/Summer 1997 collection, often referred to as the 'lumps and bumps' collection, which featured abnormally proportioned garments warped with excess bulk and concealed balls. But where Comme’s purposely ugly forms challenged perceived conventions of beauty, Browne’s symmetrical shapes were exaggerated and cartoonlike – huge conical bulges projecting from the chest and bottom, as well as from the elbows and knee-caps. Not much was wearable – though it has to be said the mostly Japanese audience of very well-dressed fashion buyers and editors seemed pretty keen on it (they are the countrymen of Rei Kawakubo after all!), but the few pieces that could be worn in daylight, namely shrunken boy blazers, were well-proportioned and beautifully tailored. It was a brave collection to show at the most commercial of the fashion centres to say the least – but who knows? Perhaps Browne’s Lady Gaga-like wares will find a home among fashion’s most daring.
The few pieces that could be worn in daylight, namely shrunken boy blazers, were well-proportioned and beautifully tailored.