June 30, 2012 Paris
For all its flaws, Ridley Scott's Prometheus is a movie as primed for impact on fashion as his earlier masterpiece Blade Runner. Unfortunately for that theory, Browne hasn't seen the film. Still, there was a mythological component in his show that seemed a little bigger than your average clever staging. The mythology of fashion? Delightful thought. On arrival, guests were greeted by a greensward covered with neat lines of rather large silver brogues. So far, so anal, in the Browne tradition. But when the garden was invaded by huge silvery insectoid satyrs, like escapees from Pan's Labyrinth, past predictabilities evaporated. After the satyrs had worked their macabre magic, an army of giant Slinkys shuffled into the garden to boing-boing electronica (Doctor Who fans could have visualized Daleks as an alternative). Each one of them settled over the silver shoes like a broody king penguin. When the Slinky dropped, a model was revealed in an outfit from Browne's new collection. So transporting had been the setup that it took a moment to remember that clothes were, after all, the point of all this.
And, amazingly, they matched their intro. It was still Browne's silhouette—outré layering and cropping—but the palette had shifted from Calvinist sobriety to preppy-on-acid. Candy-colored ginghams and madras, beaded lobster appliqués, whale-print trousers, knee socks—Browne's vision transported into a parallel universe and given a delirious spin. It was a wise, and necessary, move. All those signature items suddenly took on a new lease of life.
But a comprehensive appreciation of Browne's madness would have to take into account the fact that the silvery goat pants worn by the satyrs were branded with the designer's signature tricolor tag. As in, they might also be in the collection. Be afraid. Be very afraid.