Thom Browne always creates a world around his collections. For A/W 17, he invited us into an ice skating rink, complete with penguins and a flannel dog. The models entered the faux frozen set through a gate, shoes shaped like skates and while they could barely walk in them, they looked beautiful.
Once inside the rink, the girls displayed a variety of suit-inspired offerings. Browne made it clear that these women were out for practicality; one outsized, stone grey puffer jacket read, 'it is too cold for dresses' on the back. Practicality, of course, of the Thom Browne variety. There were knee-length shorts and matching blazers in dark pinstripes, faded checkered iterations of the same cut, and a pale grey suit jacket, with hundreds of hand-stitched silver and grey buttons running down the second half. Every look, no matter how simple in conceptual origin, was ornate in construction.
Coating was lush - sharply tailored, and, as seen on the trim of several jackets, detailed with fur. Some were printed with miniature houses and ponies or penguins. There was puffer coats too; the closing look featured a gothic bride in a long black puffer suit featuring a trailing train. Each Thom Browne offering had its own little story. As usual, there was a nod to constriction: lips were covered in fabric, shoes were unwalkable, and models wore knee high socks held up by striped holsters just above the knee. There is an element of fetish to Browne’s work, no matter how subtle. Still, this is a collection that will translate well to quite a few. And not just in the coldest day - or for a woman who would shy away from the romanticism of a dress. You can be quite feminine in a Thom Browne suit, also.