In his long and checkered career in fashion, Josephus Thimister has been responsible for some screwily memorable moments, none more so than the collection for Balenciaga that was accompanied by an ear-bleedingly loud live soundtrack by the late and oh-so lamented English band Add N to (X). The audience—all, bar the indomitable Suzy Menkes—was driven from the venue well before show's end by a barrage of noise. Fabulous! Would that there were such a polarizing experience to make Thimister
's latest presentation memorable. Instead, there was an overtly gothic-Gotham take on the masculine-feminine mash-up that has been driving fashion this season. Thimister titled his collection Snow: Mystic Circles of Fallen Angels. The case for the prosecution could almost rest at that point, except that it would deny onlookers the opportunity to debate the wisdom of the male onesie tucked into riding boots, or the half-naked gamekeeper in a gigantic muffler, or endless monastic hoods paired with baggy pleated shorts. Admittedly, these were menswear aberrations and their misguided poetry was more palatable when rendered in womenswear. So a white shirt that transmogrified into a Batman cape behind looked better on a girl than a boy. And Thimister's attention to the backside of garments obviously made a lot more sense on women than men. (It's hardly likely that a man would say, "Design me an exit-maker.")
A gimlet eye applied to the designer's odd fantasia could pluck stand-alone pieces from the murk—a dramatically volumed parka-puffer hybrid, a waxed cotton jacket, a sweeping white hooded coat that was lifted from the closet of Lord Asriel in The Golden Compass
. But when Nico and her harmonium began wheezing on the soundtrack, it triggered chill memories of her tune "Frozen Warnings." The frozen warning tonight? Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. And Thimister himself is such a cuddly, shambling, denim-clad bear of a man—the very essence of life-affirmation. Go figure.