Why I Love Thom Browne


I get it. Click image to see the collection.

Thom Browne Fall 2016 collection is just about how I feel these days. Hobo-chic out of necessity. Closet Chanel wanna-be wearer. It’s all about whatever Thom Browne says it seems. Though I’d like to see him cloaked in a chenille number, which only proves the adage, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

I first realized I loved Thom Brown after years of being a nay sayer. I had good reason. But he has proven to be a leading voice in menswear so I say, Bravo.

I LOVE THOM BROWNE – July 8, 2014

Thom Browne Fall '14 Designer Fat Suit

Thom Browne Fall ’14 Designer Fat Suit

There I said it, “I Love Thom Browne!”

Years–that seem like centuries–have passed since I regularly hurled well-intended, albeit bitchy barbs at certain menswear designers–oh, yes, women’s wear designers too, but let’s stick to the story. Case in point: Thom Browne.

SIDEBAR: Please take a moment to peruse some of my past Manzie Reports that include Mr. Browne’s collections featuring outfits so “shockingly wrong” that a new category of mens clothing was born...The Manzie. You are sure to get dumbstruck when you see what I mean about the level of absurdity and the sheer ridiculousness of what the Thom Browne Man was…is.

But something strange happened when I happened upon the some images of Browne’s recent shows both Spring and Fall 2014 Menswear Collections. Strange, because I got it. Strange, because there is little difference between his past collections in comparison to what was just shown on  the runway in Paris in terms theater of the absurd. And that is exactly what is strange about all of this is because I actually finally got the point that Thom Browne was making and has been doing so all along. Till now I was too quick to make the joke rather than ponder what the Thom Browne Man is, or what he can be…besides a mass of contradictions.

Thom Browne Spring '14 Butterflies Are Free

Thom Browne Spring ’14 Butterflies Are Free

Surely ninety nine percent of this Spring collection will not go into production as shown. You might see a hint of that butterfly print. Said print would frankly otherwise be best served on a toddler girl’s pajamas. While I’m on the subject of toddlers, many of the padded suits from both seasons remind me of what toddler boys wear when they are learning how to rollerblade. His fall offering has suits that make the statement, “You can’t be too fat or too rich”. Expect to see a much modified version of those Spring jackets with their perfectly square cut shoulders, so square that it looks like a direct knock-off of the dress Carol Burnett wore in that hilarious Gone With The Wind skit, where she played Scarlett wearing the green velvet curtains…rods and all!


Point of interest: That costume from The Carol Burnett Show is in the Smithsonian Institute permanent collection.  Lord knows, Mr. Browne has his sights set on being included there one day as well. He did after all uncover men’s ankles. Now Mankles are everywhere and it’s a shame that he doesn’t get a dime for every exposed man’s ankle you see.

The Fall ’14 collection had what “one” expects from Thom Browne: mind-bending cuts, colors and out of the box accessories. But, so far out of the box that the same “one” would beg the question, “What the fuck was he thinking? Or, “Who the hell is going to be caught dead in that get up and I mean, not even on Halloween!” I’m getting off message and need to get back to my original statement, I Love Thom Browne. (Yes, I would wear that T-shirt.)

Suffice it to say that when Michelle Obama wore that beautiful blue Thom Browne coat at the inauguration, something critically fierce happened for him. And not in that J. Crew “We is real folks” kind of desperation. Rather, how the hell did Thom pull off that coup d’état, which made every silly outfit he ever showed that much more compelling and appealing. It made Michelle seem even cooler than she already was, and it put to bed all the nay sayers (um) because, and I am quoting my mother who always spewed pearls of wisdom, “Ach, they’re just jealous. Besides, they are sickies AND disgustings.” No, that is not a typo.

Thom Browne Before & After

Thom Browne Before & After

Frankly, it is high time that I tip my hat to Thom Browne since he kinda of came out of nowhere, post dating a major player at Ralph Lauren. He must have been forced to listen to all that endless Lipschitz drama, because those people drink the Kool-Aid. Browne bust out of the gate with statement pieces (ankles for days) and flourished during a critically horrendous, financially disastrous time in the fashion industry. Most brands took to playing it safe with their designs, cutting PR budgets to the bones and retailers open to buys were restricted to the major brands that advertise. But no…Thom Browne wouldn’t dare compromise his long term vision and persisted on avoiding the trap of giving the buyers what they think they want and sticking to his guns by presenting all this weird shit and doing shows that were memorable. Maybe not in the same achingly beautiful way that an Alexander McQueen show would provide, but the shock value one needs to stand apart, get noticed and take names. So put a lampshade on your head and smoke that!

Thom has had a banner year both financially as well as critically as he has received the top honors usually reserved for the select few. I happily join the rank and file of those who admire him. What I love most is  what I believe was the inspiration for his Spring season, which was reminiscent of the Wooden Soldiers from the classic film, Babes in Toyland meets Klaus Nomi meets Little Lord Fauntleroy. Thom Browne is a showman, a dandy, a smart guy and someone that I am pleased to admit that I was wrong about from the start.

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