The venue for Thom Browne's Paris debut was a modernist architectural landmark—the headquarters of France's Communist Party, designed by Oscar Niemeyer. The mind ran riot. How would the master showman of fashion surrealism rise to his surroundings? Surely there'd be at least one guy in a long train. Well, surprise, surprise. Browne left the architecture to speak for itself as he mounted his most commercial show to date.
The opening—a march-past of "astronauts"—promised signature space oddities from Browne, but then the man-droids stripped off their jumpsuits to reveal two-button jackets, Bermuda shorts, and kneesocks underneath. In other words, a straightforward presentation of one of the designer's most sellable looks in an all-styles-served-here range of options, from his own classic gray flannel to a shimmering sequined plaid. The designer loves a uniform, and this is probably his most uniform look, so the event acted as a newcomer's introduction to his singular aesthetic. For those already partial to his work, it was a chance to see Browne's concentration on his craft: the fabric development, the appliqués, the embroidery, even his morbid wit (one motif featured a shark pursuing innocent little goldfish).