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August 22 2014

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Thom Browne, Supersized

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Ironic that the latest collection from Thom Browne, famous—notorious, even—for his shrunken proportions, soared when it went supersize. His military-tinged officer’s coats in navy and gray flannel are Browne classics, but equally impressive were a wolf-collared houndstooth and a tweed overcoat, mid-calf-length and as broad-shouldered as an Ayn Rand superman. Also strikingly overscaled was the knitwear and—perhaps best of all—an elongated baseball jacket. Browne’s signature whimsy was appealingly reined in with the snowflake embroidery on a substantial navy duffel. But restraint clearly wasn’t the subtext in this collection. The outsize proportions yielded some typical head-scratchers, like the floor-length cabled gray cardigan over an equally long white knit “dress,” and some mystifying tulip-skirted pieces, and, of course, the Thom Browne Trainℬ, the finale outfit trailing an extended fishtail festooned with raccoon, which seemed to be the collection’s leitmotif. There were critter tails trailing off the bellhop’s hats that Browne showed with just about everything, and a gray flannel suit was swarming with them. The designer has always insisted he likes to make people laugh. This outbreak of davycrockettitis was certainly incongruous enough to raise a smile. On the more serious—as in, commercially viable—side, Browne produced items with a distinctly athletic flavor. Protectively padded tops and pants looked primed for winter pursuits. (The biggest-is-best theme extended to the massive zippers that closed the tops.) One final hostess-with-the-mostest note: Instead of flowers as centerpieces in the elegant salons of the Park Avenue Armory, Browne offered huge buttercream cakes, frosted with marzipan in delicate pastel shades. Guests were invited to take them. And there we have what will surely be the goody bag of the season.

Photo: Courtesy of Thom Browne

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