Thom Browne FW23 Lets Quintessential American Fashion Tell an Intergalactic Story

In The Shed’s sand-covered theater at Hudson Yards, a massive paper biplane crashed onto Thom Browne’s Fall/Winter 2023 runway. Above it, planets and stars were suspended as lanterns; and around it, white chairs circled. The set transported showgoers to a grey desert, located somewhere between Earth and space. Though catastrophic, it was calmly beautiful.

Browne has not shown in New York since September 2021. In the last two years, he’s appeared on the Paris calendar, but following his appointment as chairman of the CFDA, a New York Fashion Week exposition was obligatory.

In the front row, American luminaries, wearing signature kilts and heritage tweed, proved Browne’s cultural impact. Whoopi Goldberg engaged in exciting chatter with Stranger Things favorite David Harbour, while Ella Emhoff, an American fashion designer and member of the Second Family of the United States, took to her seat. Pusha T sat with Queen Latifah, not too far from You‘s Penn Badgley and Aquaman‘s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. It was a celebration of American culture, in the flesh.

The lights dimmed and a voiceover made clear the show’s allusion to The Little Prince, as author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s famous words echoed across the venue: “It is only with the heart one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Following the novella’s storyline, an ethereal pilot and the namesake Little Prince cautiously then maneuvered the sandy scene. The former wore Browne’s avant-garde take on an extraterrestrial suit with blown-up proportions; the titular character donned a straight, gold-silver dress with an oversized, four-striped coat. 

Six intarsia silk dresses represented the six planets visited on the Little Prince’s lonely travels, each pumping serotonin with maximalist, colorful motifs. As they took their places around the fallen plane, a legion of oversized silhouettes, known as “The Clocks,” processed in a time-telling fashion.

Roped-shoulder overcoats in all-over grosgrain ribbon tweed met similar iterations made with hand-pulled chiffon and hairy mohair, while sportcoats blended in matching textiles. Trousers and skirts were “super low-rise” and made mostly with various versions of thick grey knits. Standouts, the Clock Hector Bag told the time on models’ arms, and heels used clocks for height.

Reconstruction defined the subsequent looks, titled “The Asteroids.” Suiting was slashed, mixed, reshaped and draped unconventionally. Shirting found new meaning on dresses, and ties served new stylistic purposes in unusual locations. Shooting star embroidery appeared hand-stitched on suits-turned-shirts-turned-dresses in pinstripe wool flannels, while several other classic shapes were flipped upside down or turned inside out. Across the board, bulky astronaut boots committed to the line’s otherworldly mentality.

The Little Prince stole the spotlight once more, falling to the ground with melancholy for a lost love. In time, Precious Lee appeared as the character’s angel, going off-script to rescue the desolate nobleman wearing a laced-back dress in white solid tweed with reconstructed and layered suiting plastered on its front. Following her heroic performance, coupled models marched the final carousel to Josh Groban’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” It was Browne’s happy ending.

On each seat, the designer left a tin of chocolates. Following the show’s conclusion, Browne ran out to the crowd to present his partner Andrew Bolton with a larger version. It was Valentine’s Day, after all.

Peruse Thom Browne’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection in the gallery above.

Elsewhere at New York Fashion Week, AKNVAS FW23 experiments with classic American design tropes.
Source: Read Full Article