Thom Browne Closes New York Fashion Week in Poetic Form

Fashion

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Thom Browne is not one to shy away from an operatic fashion show. His dreamscapes involve great clothes, of course, but also reach into the heart of the audience, creating experiences that are part theater, part runway, and totally Thom. This season, the designer used “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe as the backdrop for his storytelling. Actress Carrie Coon narrated the poem for the soundtrack, the eerie specter watching over the grand proceedings. Anna Cleveland opened in a classic tweed overcoat, shirt, and skirt, emerging onto the snowy scene. A massive snowman-turned-scarecrow loomed over the setting, 30-feet-tall and donning an oversized black puffer jacket, from which children emerged. (How long were they under there? Who knows.)

a person in a black dress

Dan Lecca
a person in a garment

Dan Lecca

What resulted was a parade of typical Thom-isms, leaning heavily into prep and sportswear, codes of which he’s defined and redefined during his 20ish years as an American luxury designer. The clothes were entirely black and white, with grosgrain ribbons, velvet, and silk adorning dresses, blazers, and massive coats. Jackets shrugged away from shoulders and wrapped around the waist, giving both freedom and structure. Hair was piled high in messy braids with detritus and lace covering the models’ heads, making them look windswept…or like they just nose-dived into the dirt. His usual point-toe boots and Hector dachshund handbags were rendered in clear rubber, ready for rain, sleet, and snow. Cocoon coats and dresses were highlights, ensconcing the body in swan-like glamour. Some jackets and dresses appeared tar-dipped, with a rough and ready street cred that Poe would certainly approve of.

a person in a black coat and red lipstick with a white and black scarf on the head

Dan Lecca
a person wearing a garment

Dan Lecca
a person wearing a dress

Dan Lecca
a person with a face mask and a cane walking in the snow

Dan Lecca
a person in a garment

Dan Lecca

And then came the finale look, donned by model of the moment Alex Consani, the “golden bug” in a woven gold cardigan, gold lamé skirt, and deer-like, gold-flaked braids sweeping over her head like a beetle’s antennae. As Coon screeched out the final incantation of Poe’s epic “nevermore, nevermore, nevermore,” one couldn’t help but feel entrenched in Victorian-era New York, hobble skirts and drama abounding, something sinister lurking under the surface. Through all the drama, though, were really wearable daytime clothes and key ideas to take away and incorporate into your style: prep blazers with ties and shirts, cropped pants, and coat dresses, an emerging trend this season that Browne has been presenting for a while now. Just when the drama reached a fever pitch, the show closed and the music switched to Etta James’ “At Last,” as Browne skipped out with a massive velvet box of chocolates for his beloved, Andrew Bolton. Turns out, he’s a romantic at heart. And for those 30 minutes, fashion’s cynics might have been, too.

THOM BROWNE FALL/WINTER 2024

a person in a garment

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