September 09, 2006
A 30-minute film made in collaboration with artist Anthony Goicolea introduced Thom Browne's Spring 2007 collection. In its silent, sensual depiction of young men creating their own clothes for weddings and funerals, it nailed the fascinatingly fetishized nature of Browne's work. Call it a magnificent obsession, if you like, but there's no one else whose brooding over the mysteries of masculinity is producing clothes like this. It's a love-it-or-loathe-it proposition, and that is exactly the way Browne himself insists he wants it to be. There is unlikely to be a middle ground on an item like this collection's silk faille morning tails with their 70-inch train, or the jackets with bustles lined in ruffled Indian cotton, or the sheer trousers (Browne talked about "the humor of teaching guys to wear underwear," in the same way that he likes seeing a nice undershirt under a sheer shirt).
But those were the season's most extreme proposals. More intrinsic to the Browne aesthetic were two other new ideas: the double-breasted jacket and a two-button style. These were even more fitted than Browne's jackets in the past, but by way of compensation, he'd added extra volume to the piece his customers might wear over them: a flyaway silk raglan coat, say, or one made from the same aluminum mesh you'd find in a screen door. Browne claimed he'd been thinking about the genteel traditions of the South when he called his collection "a new take on Americana." One result was the veiled effect achieved by layering gauzy dotted-Swiss voile over a cotton blazer. It was a detail you might find in women's couture, as were the ostrich feathers hand-embroidered onto another jacket. As mad as that might look for a man, it had a peculiar free-your-mind allure.