The latest sport to come into Thom Browne's crosshairs is…cricket. (Crickets also being the sound the revelation inspired in the American press section. Those little balls lining the grassy knoll of runway were for what?) Though he admitted cheerfully that his personal experience was "none," he stepped gamely to the pitch. But as a lens through which to focus his ever-puffed, ever-odd collection for Moncler, the sport worked well. For one thing, the padded, skirted protective gear cricket requires aligns perfectly with the twin requirements (padding, skirts) that define the Gamme Bleu world. But just as serendipitous, it turned out, was the palette. For the first time, the designer stripped the whole collection down to purest white, offset only with his customary tricolor stripe. "I wanted people to really see all the work that goes into the fabrics," he said. "All the textures, the mix of the textures, and the mix of the technical fabrics with the classical fabrics, which has become so signature to Gamme Bleu." The array of padded trousers, culottes with reinforced knees, crop-topped cricketers' sweaters, and coats with oversize ribbon closures did have a new clarity and a sharper sense of focus in optic white.
Browne has plied his single-minded trade so long that it's impossible to expect anything at his shows, yet impossible to go away with expectations anything but fulfilled. He's conditioned the world to his weirdness, which is no small accomplishment. The most outré thing on display, actually, for the man who—probably to his chagrin—will be forever remembered as the ankle's liberator, was all those socks.