thom browne time travels to 20s new york for fall/winter 16

The designer’s newest offering was a DIY meditation on Depression-era resourcefulness.

|
Feb 16 2016, 11:00pm

Photography Jason Lloyd Evans

Thom Browne's elaborate fall/winter 16 set was lightly snow covered and featured dim lampposts. Coupled with the warrantable anticipation of luxurious outerwear, it conjured ever so slight Narnia vibes before his collection debuted last night in Chelsea. But Browne's inspiration wasn't located in a far away fantasy land. Actually, it was about 20 blocks away, in Union Square.

Predictably, the designer wasn't exactly riffing on the commuters, tourists, and weirdos that presently populate the historic intersection. His was the square of the late 20s, no snack carts in sight. Though lit to evoke a serene winter evening on 14th Street, Browne's collection demonstrated some of the most bold deconstruction he's done in quite a while. 

Inspired by the era's economic resourcefulness, the story was about reappropriating quality-made essentials to create new shapes. Oxford shirts, blazers, overcoats -- faithfully rendered in Browne's limited color palate -- confronted each other head on. It's hard not to feel like fast fashion has become a sad fact of the universe, so it's more likely the designer was reacting to Union Square's history as a meeting place -- for political protests but also for office people. These are turbulent times we're living in, but so was the Great Depression.

This season wasn't all pensive; as always, Browne's mood incorporated a bit of idiosyncratic whimsy. The show opened with two bespectacled boys in sharp, clean suits. Both loitered on park benches throughout the duration of the show; one of them pushed a toy leather dog on wheels. Dogs reappeared in varied forms as the shapes of sturdy handbags and beaded applique details embroidered on a blazer reincarnated as a skirt. Wildly windblown ties were sculpted to dance alongside their wearers' faces. The headpieces demonstrated a similar sense of theatrical subversion to buttoned up uniform dressing that formed the season's overall design direction.

Credits


Text Emily Manning
Photography Jason Lloyd Evans