thom browne drops japanese school girls into the land of oz for spring/summer 16

The New York-based designer’s spring spectacle landed somewhere between Kansas and Kyoto.

by Emily Manning
15 September 2015, 2:25pm

Thom Browne's spring/summer 16 set was steeped in Wizard of Oz references. Miss Gulch's bike was suspended from Skylight Modern's ceiling. It was surrounded by tumbleweeds and a white picket fence, both reminiscent of the film's Dust Bowl opening scenes. Hell, there were even legs protruding from a skeletal single-room schoolhouse that looked as if a tornado has taken off its walls. But Browne's collection itself appeared as far from Kansas as, well, Oz.

Perhaps his woman was a lateral time traveler. Recall Judy Garland's career-making movie is a product of the late 30s, which seemed about the same era Browne's ever-so-slightly moribund Japanese school girls hailed from. He played with uniform codes by dropping shirt hems below the length of pleated skirts. Tops were crisply layered, too, and included vests, schoolboy blazers, and the occasional overcoat. Traditional Japanese graphics -- dragons, koi, cherry blossoms, cranes and geishas -- were appliqued onto traditional uniform fabrics: wool, cotton oxford, and tweed.

But even when Browne's girls had stepped over the schoolhouse threshold, it was difficult to shake the feeling that the Emerald City had been left behind. Maybe it was the hint of Dorothy's signature sky blue gingham: found not on an apron dress, but rather in a strip of cotton oxford on a frayed linen sack jacket. Maybe it was in the pigtails, which, like Dorothy's, were tied with tiny ribbon bows (in the brand's signature tricolor grosgrain as opposed to Garland's gingham.) Or maybe it was because Browne's initial grey looks transitioned into pastel colored prints and patterns -- as if they'd woken up to realize they're not in Kansas, or Kyoto, anymore. 

Read more i-D fashion month coverage here.


Text Emily Manning
Photography Jason Lloyd Evans

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