February 13, 2011 New York
Glaring down from the walls of the hallowed hall where Browne showed were a few centuries of Astor men, and their late-Victorian/early-Edwardian grandee style was reflected in the strictly tailored gray flannel and camel, the caped and hobbled shapes. Which meant there was no sex in Browne's look. But there was subversion. The baseball jacket that stretched into a dress with an extreme hourglass shape, for instance. Or the lush astrakhan jacket that expanded into a vinyl peplum. The overt theatricality of Browne's layering was also a challenge. Baby, it may be cold outside, but the capelet over cape over cable-knit skirt was a theatrical layer too far. Still, as with Browne's menswear, you suspect that elements of the whole—the patent clutches, for a start—will be extracted over time for commercial effect.
Speaking of theater, Browne was fearless in his manipulation of outlandish silhouette: The egg and the cage were reminiscent of an earlier fashion provocateur, Jean Paul Gaultier. Equally, they could be Gaga today, and it is probably in that context that Browne's work should be judged. The sui generis lexicon he has established for himself is just as critic-proof as hers.