“Why would you wear that?” Is a typical response when seeing Thom Browne, Menswear Designs on the catwalk and he expects this sort of reaction. “I want to put concepts in front of people that make them laugh or smile or even hate what I do.” He says. This is exactly what he has achieved with his extraordinary and playful animal hats that top off this years Autumn 2014 collection. He collaborated with well-known milliner, Stephen Jones, to create the animal hats that include a rabbit, a bear, a reindeer a hare, an elephant to name a few.
Browne has a unique and playful approach to working with the traditional elements of men’s tailoring. In his Autumn 2014 collection, he has created his designs out of conventional plaids, stripes and checks. He exposes the seams so that they are frayed and apparent. He plays with length so that the necktie is extra long and tucked into a pair of pants; the tie is in exactly the same fabric as the suit, a traditional taboo. A waistcoat is cut very short or a jacket is cut just a little too long, yet all the while maintaining the idea that this is a well tailored mans’ suit. In contrast, are his disproportionate suits that look as if they have been inflated; they take on a more feminine line as well as using richly patterned brocade fabric that encases the body rather than defines it.
Thom Browne is mostly recognised for his shrunken grey suits that have also been described as mini suits. He gained public recognition for his women’s clothing line when Mrs Obama, Americas First Lady chose his subtly checked, silk, navy blue coat and dress, for her husband, President Obama’s, inauguration. Having worked in Giorgio Armani’s showroom and as a merchandiser for Club Monaco, part of the Ralph Lauren empire, he opened a bespoke tailoring shop in Manhattan in 2003 and later introduced his ready-to-wear suits. He still acknowledges his original tailor Rocco Ciccarelli who he says, taught him all he knows about suiting. He collaborated with store chain, Brooks Brothers to produce a line called Black Fleece as well as for French Sportswear Company, Moncler and their men’s line, Moncler Gamme Bleu. He has won many awards including CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year in 2006 and also recently in 2013.
The successful, ‘Thom Browne’ label is now stocked by over 160 retailers. Browne has recently opened his first flagship store outside of America in Tokyo. He maintains his ‘bespoke’ suits as well as off-the-rack-suits, menswear range and accessories as well as a women’s line of clothing and accessories. He says of his ‘made to measure’ suits, “It’s very important because it’s how I started. It’s how I funded the collections at the beginning, from every suit I sold.”
Who would have thought that the traditional suit, which has travelled through the decades, would still be relevant in the 21st century. Thom Browne has made certain of that by deconstructing the suit that dad wore and re-introducing it to the younger generation.
Hats Off To Thom Browne and Stephen Jones For Some Seriously Strange Headwear April 18, 2014, If its Hip Its Here, viewed 19 September 2014,
Patner, J 2008, ‘The New Sartorialists’, Time, 172, pp. 34-37, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 19 September 2014.
Trebay, G. (2013, Feb 10). Being thom browne. New York Times Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.libraryproxy.griffith.edu.au/docview/1285312096?accountid=14543
Thom Browne Says Stay True to Yourself, Tommye Fitzpatrick, Business of Fashion, viewed 21 September 2014, http://www.businessoffashion.com/2013/12/thom-browne-says-stay-true-to-yourself.html
Thom Browne, (n.d.). viewed 20 September 2014 http://www.thombrowne.com/about.php.