Thom Browne SS20 Menswear Paris
Thom Browne's new collection with reinvents the definition of fantastical menswear couture. Sportswear, Marie Antoinette and ballet may not have an immediate connection at first glance, but much of Browne's imagination bridges this gap in elegant fashion. This intriguing ingenuity took the audience on a tulle-and-lace journey through history, art and ballet, transforming the runway into a masquerade ball fit for a 'Versailles country club'.
Browne's garden-party models enter the runway headed by James Whiteside, a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre. The inspired look features mime-like make-up accentuated with a tri-color sports headband. Drawing further down is a tailored jacket, disrupted by a high-cut tutu. This is but a mild introduction of what follows in the collection. Cropped jackets and sportswear are reimagined and reconstructed into soccer-ball shaped bags and even bigger statement soccer-ball shoes. Stripes were in full swing in the collection, whether they came in the form of oversized trousers, extremely high-cut shorts that border on risqué, or straight skirts that clearly subvert the overt masculinity inherent in sports. This elongated the models' forms further, some of which were athletes who did not at all seem out-of-place in pastel and petticoats.
Parisian elegance, Browne dictates in his pieces, does not necessarily have to be lacey or sheer; the designer channels the panniers that befit Marie Antoinette's infamous Parisian court, infused in either gowns or trousers in this eccentric menswear collection – and, in one piece, is displayed in its bare bones. Flower appliqué and other intricate knitwear juxtapose the highlighted shape of jockstraps at the crotch and, even further down, pointed soles and high platforms. This is a fusion of all kinds of courts, and Browne gracefully pioneers a new frontier of lavish aristocracy and experimental couture.
As one of Casper & Casper's most favourite brands, Browne did not disappoint following last season's milder, more understated collection. The New York-based designer proves that the intersection between art and sports, does not necessarily have to favour one or the other. Browne's new collection may seem dream-like, but the meticulous union of the best qualities of both worlds indicates anything but.