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Ok, Can We Talk About Thom Browne For A Moment?


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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ok, Can We Talk About Thom Browne For A Moment?

Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows that I have always supported what Thom meant to New York menswear. The work he began several seasons ago was a giant step forward, and put New York menswear back on the map.

At his show last week, I felt like it was just more of the same (same shapes, same colors, same proportions), and what was new was unwearable.

The other thing that’s getting old is that it’s all done with such deadly seriousness. I like when someone like Yohji does really advanced work, but it’s always done with a wink.

Thom is getting close to a one-trick pony. I hope he proves me wrong, and maybe the Brooks Brothers gig will open a whole new chapter in his evolution, but I'm starting to get tired of waiting for something new.

Am I off base here?

Comments on "Ok, Can We Talk About Thom Browne For A Moment?"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:10 PM) : 

Completely and vehemently disagree. Thom Browne's work is fascinating not only for its brilliant commentary on menswear, but for its genuine singularity. This show, among his past, really places him in a place of his own--whether you like it or not, he's in a place where his work will undermine the important of all other American designers.

And to complain about the unwearable details is to miss the point of his presentation; Thom is a designer and a showman, and he is not just creating clothes, but--like some would say of Hedi Slimane's stint at Dior--crafting a lifestyle. And whether or not you really understand or, to put it plainly, care for his designs, I think its a must for any true sartorialist or fashion aficionado to garner an appreciation for what he's doing, for the youthful, nostalgia, and deeply surreal work that Thom is putting out there in a new age of fashion.



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:13 PM) : 

is the brooks brothers stuff in store now? if not, when?


Blogger Law of Attraction said ... (12:14 PM) : 

Your right on track. I love thigh highs for women, but I think men out grow the right around age 4.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:17 PM) : 

I wouldn't say you are off base but I enjoy him taking things seriously. There are plent of designers/artists/writers who are trying to be ironic or tongue in cheek. That gets tired for me. He is forging ahead and any artist cannot worry about pandering. Was de kooning a one trick pony because he did the women series forever? this all hinges on the idea that you believe he is an srtist of course.

The knee high socks maybe unwearable today but who knows how the idea will filter into the mainstream.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:18 PM) : 

i tend to agree....the whole short sleeves, short pants, tax-man look was (and remains) cool and eccentric....but his new stuff is verging on the pretentious....and couture fashion should at some level be about wearability....which is why i don't like john galliano....

basically, i agree with u.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:18 PM) : 

I particularly liked the t Browne "A" line hooded cape, but I wouldn't date a man who showed up in it. I thought the Z Zegna show was fabulous!, cool and wearable.


Anonymous fashion senseless said ... (12:18 PM) : 

No. You're spot on. He doesn't seem to be advancing wearable men's clothing past his initial point. It seems to wear his stuff, you have to carry it off perfectly, which is contrary to my own POV of fashion, which is not anti-style, but anti-uniform, slightly askew, off-kilterishness. Could just be me.


Blogger chris said ... (12:20 PM) : 

off base, no. i believe he wants to push the boundaries of menswear, but doesn't have the vocabulary yet to do so. one trick pony--perhaps. it's the same silhoutte, and now the look is being updated (tweaked) with unconventional clothing, and taking the eye off of the same shrunken silhouette.

also, this is something womenswear has been doing for years--envelope pushing, unwearable clothing, etc. is it a double-standard now that it's done more often with menswear AND that it's being done New York--the "conservative" market, if it were.


Blogger skyisfalling said ... (12:31 PM) : 

no, i HATE the thigh high socks...


Blogger whyioughtta said ... (12:36 PM) : 

What is the white thing on the back of the collar in the first photo? Is he meant to look like his barber was giving him a trim when he suddenly got up and left? Maybe he was in such a hurry because he realized he'd forgotten to wear pants. And that he'd inadvertently swapped socks with Paris Hilton.

Are you off on this? I don't think you could be more correct. Good Gad.


Anonymous oldog/oldtrix said ... (12:52 PM) : 

To me, the concept of “designer” is anathema to men’s tailored clothing. By “designer” I mean an individual who radically changes the look of his/her clothing from season to season simply for the sake of something new. In that sense, then, I see nothing objectionable about the fact that Mr. Browne has chosen a concept for his clothes and stuck with it. I find his concept largely unwearable for real life circumstances that call for tailored clothes, but that’s no criticism of his consistency.

While I personally don’t chose my clothes based on the label, I do note that both Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein have produced (designed?) successful, and I think admirable, men’s clothing lines for decades, though neither has deviated fundamentally from his original concept: Anglo-Ivy from Mr. Lauren and a sleeker more modernist look and palette from Mr. Klein. Are they one-trick ponies? Maybe so in the “designer” sense; but each, and/or his minions, has mastered his trick while refining, modifying and building upon it. I’d wish the same kind of success for Mr. Browne, but I don’t think he’s headed there with his chosen look.


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (12:52 PM) : 

to R
thanks for your response! well done.

Lets make one thing clear,
I like Thom's work but if I bought a reasonable amount of his clothes any the past few years he is now giving me very little new to buy.

Because I respect him, I expect more from him.

Now he seems to just be doing variations on a theme.
Even if he did the whole collection in a new color story at least it would be something new to look at.

I'm all for showmanship but he is no Dries.
Dries can show a very directional and personal collection and it can still be wearable and at a reasonable price

I think it is to Thom's credit that people have stopped talking about his pant length and are now focused on his work but that also puts more pressure on him to deliver.
If he decides to stay in his current mode, more power to him, he has already created a cult following but the fashion train will keep moving and I would hate to see him left behind.


Blogger Lady said ... (12:55 PM) : 

I agree that the thigh-highs are horrendous, but I've seen many absurd items trotted down runways which are plainly meant to be just for the shows. I doubt that Browne expects the men of New York to start rocking hotpants and thigh-highs.

That said, I'm beginning to tire of his overall aesthetic and hope that he can evolve into a more mature designer as he is clearly very talented and willing to take risks.

Finally, I love that snow hat with the long long pompom/scarf detail. Practical, cool, and whimsical.


Blogger SuMisura said ... (1:04 PM) : 

Sart, I couldn't agree more
Recently, the disconnection between the runway and the street was appallingly wide. People are abandoning their instincts, and compromise when it comes to differentiating runway stylistic drama, and what is actually fashion. We're nurturing a nation of defensive label aficionados, and fewer sartorialists. I applaud a designer who can go out there and put on a show, however, I admire a designer who will spend a lifetime crafting the perfect peak lapel, or perfecting the waistband of a flannel trouser - things I may actually be able to wear in my lifetime. We’re slipping from what is the very best about clothing, the craftsmanship and attention to details, for fashion shock and awe.

The Man in the Grey Flannel Skirts??? C’mon Thom…


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (1:06 PM) : 

I took out the line about the mens thigh-high socks.

It was a cheap shot and I know it was just a show thing but all of my points about the collection still stand.


Blogger MAKI Corp. said ... (1:10 PM) : 

Completely and vehemently true. You're right. Mr. Browne has been doing the same ol' collection for last three seasons. The dissonance and repetitiveness of the collection is ushered by possibly troubled talent-management issues. His presentation was utterly uninspiring and disingenuous, the tailoring was impeccable but lacking in risk and I am sad to say, originality. Too bad, this is such a disappointment because we all know that there is real talent being wasted here.


Blogger Butch said ... (1:14 PM) : 

Browne's work seems to me entirely successful in pushing a fashion "argument" not only further but into more resonant places, which is what all great designers (I won't use the word artists) must do. The dialectic of his shows will sort his ultimate importance.

I do find the seriousness something of a Warholian pose, but, as with Warhol, the result is provocation--surely required under the circumstances.


Blogger Thomas said ... (1:21 PM) : 

When I first saw Thom's tailoring I thought, I'll never wear that but it's definitely interesting. Then I came across a few of his suits and loved them. Now I find he's becoming like an art student in his final year - trying very hard to make a point that frankly I must simply be too simple to get.

The question with Thom is not a new one for fashion - is his purpose to make wearable clothes, or make some sort of "brilliant commentary" on menswear? Because I'm becoming less and less convinced that a designer can do both.


Blogger whyioughtta said ... (1:36 PM) : 

p.s. Oldog/oldtrix's point about the concept of "designer" being anathema to men's tailored clothing is a really excellent one. When mens' clothing gets too whimsical it slips very easily into parody...


Anonymous Alysa said ... (1:38 PM) : 

I know I'm not responding directly to the post (even though I agree with you) but have you ever thought of coming to Montreal to take photos?
I can't tell you how many times I've had to stop in astonishment at some of the outfits I've see on the street here. I've never felt that any publication has accurately captured the style of this city but you have such a keen eye that I'm sure you could. Plus, we've even got a miniaturized version of the LES!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:55 PM) : 

From my perspective, Thom Browne's runway presentations have always been rife with humour.

In F/W06 he presented the collection on ice with the models on skates.

The following S/S07 collection featured the same model photographed in those ridiculous women's veils.

And surely grown men in knee highs, short flannels and a wooly grey toque with a pompom that is about 6feet long puts a smile to your face.

But the real humor that subversively punctuates each of TB's presentations is that his models never bely that wink you describe. They stare, blankly, at the editors assembled before them, leaving them to decide whether they're in on the joke...or whether the joke's on them...



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:55 PM) : 

Clothing represents what is happening in the world, changing attitudes in society, and fluctuating tastes. Designers filter those factors through their own experience and present their visions on the runway. Those visions change with the passage of time, but good designers know how to change and evolve without losing sight of their own philosophy and aesthetic.

Thom Browne was extremely innovative with his first line, but he has to evolve. If he is simply going to produce a variation on a theme every season then he is no longer creating. He is not designing. He has become a uniform manufacturer.

The cropped pants were silly, but they got him noticed. If he wants to keep wearing them himself, as he does, that's fine. Most designers maintain their own signature look.(Has anyone ever seen Tom Ford in anything but an open white shirt and a dark coat?)To be viable, and to be taken seriously, however, he has to be able to present something new - ane wearable. If he doesn't have the creative ability to do that, while preserving his own point of view, then he is in the wrong business. He needs to simply open a small tailor ship catering to the few men who share his vision.

Whether considered fashion, art, or both, design must evolve. If it doesn't, it ceases to be relevant. Thom Browne is increasingly irrelevant.



Anonymous rmp said ... (2:01 PM) : 

I couldn't agree more.

Originally, although I appreciated his tailoring, I knew that I would certainly never wear the proportions of Browne's clothes, I admired the concept for it's inovation.

However, at this point the concept is no longer as inspired as it was originally, and frankly, have just become boring.

The latest items from the f/w show were horrendous. Items such as the cape, the knee highs, the skirts (!), among other things, were just ridiculous. The fact that Browne takes himself so seriously simply accentuates the problems I had with his collection.

His seeming inability to abandon his original concept, coupled with his new designs and concepts seem to suggest that all Thom Browne has to set him apart are gimmicks, and that he most likely doesn't have the longevity to continue being a major topic in menswear in the future.


Blogger Butch said ... (2:06 PM) : 

To follow up on WhyIoughtta's sage point, it's interesting why some whimsy or outlandishness in male dress--I'm thinking hip-hop gear, of which nothing could be more outre--is embraced while others are not.

To answer my own question--I hope--hip hop has a tough, gangsta imprimatur, and is thus safe from any association with sissyness, anathema for a majority of males, gay as well as straight.

Woe to designers--like Browne?--whose whimsy or exaggerations places their clothing in the feminized-male camp (no pun, etc.), alone, without "real guy" endorsement. Now, if we could just get the hip-hop guys to take up Mr. Browne's stockings.....


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:11 PM) : 

An interesting note to me is that you all tend to diss a designer after 3-4 seasons just because he's not "evolving rapidly enough".
I'd say that Browne is The single American that has changed American mens wear (and the overall acceptance for a fitted silhouette) more than anyone the past 7 years. Timothy Hamilton, Michael Bastian, would they even have been in stores without Browne? I doubt it.
You still have a long way to go before the average GI Joe in the US dress even half descent.
(And no, the über-mensch billionaires on upper east are NOT representative for the U.S fashion awareness..)
Backstabbing the few innovative designers you have seemes a bit strange to me, and a bit sad to read as well. Give him some god damn credit!


Blogger herringbonekid said ... (2:32 PM) : 

i think he should ditch the gimmicks and stick to designing classic suits with slightly odd proportions. in menswear, it's always the details that count.


Anonymous Fernando said ... (2:34 PM) : 

First time on this blog . Absolutely amazing . Congratulations .


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:35 PM) : 

haha why not just make men wear tights?

my theory is that some gay men are so fashion obsessed and fashion forward that they get bored easily and need something new to wear and experiment and well flaunt for other men.

Also De kooning is a different kind of artist, than well a fashion designer. Fashion designers are not really artists because they have to pander to the marketplace and trends. They are making something that someone will buy, ie for the customer. Artists can ignore the marketplace and create for themselves without capitalist exchange...customer doesn't necessarily fit into the picture.


Anonymous fashion senseless said ... (2:44 PM) : 

I get it now. I misunderstood the men's thighhigh stockingsocks lifestyle. He's guessing, and here's what he's guessing "if the hems go up, the socks will go up to, get it?" It's unremarkable.


Blogger positive_negative said ... (2:48 PM) : 

I think those who are responding well to Browne's collection seem to be responding to the to the sheer audacity of alot his collection's pieces, which is admirable on one hand. But putting aside the issue of whether or not these pieces are wearable, is this collection strong given the construction and point-of-view? I don't believe so.

Nothing within Gareth Pugh's short collection last season was wearable but I loved it for it's originality and creativity. There was also a clear point of view that I saw throughout that didn't involve repeating alot of colors, shapes or a theme from his previous collection. I don't get that from Browne and I don't see what he's trying to tell us here.

I agree with Sart in that it is the same collection from before but (forgive the pop reference) "pimped." It's the same suit with new appendages and that's not pushing the button to me. It's audacious and eye grabbing (which I enjoy and find exciting), BUT I believe it's too much to say he's pushing the envelope with mere tricks. Call a spade a spade and don't give hype when that much isn't due.

In regards to the one trick pony comment: designers like Calvin Klein & Donna Karan may produce pieces in the modern vein each season, but the difference is that you won't see the same dress with the same cut season after season in different colors.

Another reason for my disappointment was how he failed at appropriating familiar womenswear pieces like the fur stole into menswear. I didn't see any innovative ways to cut & incorporate them, instead he just seemed to make these pieces bigger in order to fit- which in the end looked bulky and destroyed his silhouette.

It's for these reasons that I don't think much of Browne's collection and not whether it's wearable. Designers need those single pieces that defy anything you'll put in your closet for the sake of artistry. But I think Browne missed the boat on this one.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:55 PM) : 

Agree wholeheartedly, Sart.

I was worried when I read your header that you were going to "love" his new line.

Glad we are on the same page.



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:56 PM) : 

Agree wholeheartedly, Sart.

I was worried when I read your header that you were going to "love" his new line.

Glad we are on the same page.



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:07 PM) : 

There's a good debate about TB's last collection on Cathy Horyn's blog.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:11 PM) : 

Agree with you 100%

he's become very derivative of himself ....... boring already , let's see some creativity


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:13 PM) : 

one word about the stockings...CREEPY.


Anonymous Miles N said ... (3:14 PM) : 

I don't get it. What's unwearable about a ridiculous pair of man-stockings?


Blogger SuMisura said ... (3:49 PM) : 

I'm by no means an expert on the hip hop clothing environment, but one who has even a cursory understanding of the nuances of Hip Hop as culture would be forced to admit that these are indeed two different animals.

Hip Hop clothing, at least as far as the more recognized and widely legitimized lines, are deeply based in some sort of regional music culture. Forms of clothing that are popularized and influences by lyricists.

Hip Hop doesn’t portend to translate beyond the street. Sean Combs' lines, for instance, starkly divided along a "street" image and covnersely a very strong conservative mainstream line.

Thom has every right to get noticed, but where do we draw the line between pushing the envelope, and theatrical costume changes.

I for one do not see myself giving up my trousers for culottes.


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (4:07 PM) : 

to Anon 2:11pm
he has the right to grow his business and design anyway he wants but he was the leader of the New American Movement and he is getting very close to being pushed aside as the new kids take over.

Bastian and Hamilton are in a very different in a very different mode, we need an edgier designer like Thom but I'm not just going to call him a leader if he is not doing it.

Again, I hope I'm wrong and he is laughing at me in two or three months but until then he has to bring it.


Blogger Sam said ... (4:19 PM) : 

that geezer in the first picture doesn't exactly enthralled, does 'e now?


Blogger daniqueconijn said ... (4:38 PM) : 

wooow that first picture!!!
i do not believe a lot of men will wear that but if they do,, they can certainly give me a call


Anonymous Aaron said ... (5:07 PM) : 

Stop obsessing on the negative. If the fact that Thom Browne is a one trick pony bothers you, then you are missing out on the best he has to offer


Blogger Richard said ... (5:16 PM) : 

No, you're not of base. From what I've seen in store windows and photographs, his recent collections are an exercise in ego and show a contempt for men.

I liked the concept at the begining - reshaped men's wear. But he took the wrong turn at some point. I am writing this from Europe - looking at the clothes of someone like Alexander McQueen reminds me that designing clothes can be an artistic, creative endevor.

Who said that something impossible to wear is really an art statement?


Anonymous lintmag said ... (5:41 PM) : 

Again I will say he's channeling a lot of Romeo Gigli early years with the longer coat, narrow short pant with big cuff. Brooks Bros is supposed to get a very small collection of his and only in the larger stores. The Brooks man told me the price points would be about 900usd for pants and 1400 for jackets. So much for me thinking he might be affordable and cool to tailor down to a woman's size!
Obviously we are in different tax brackets if you think Dries is "reasonable" in his prices. He is my favorite designer, but I can barely afford a pair of his shoes anymore! Which is another whole topic since so many designers have gone mad with the prices of bags and shoes.....
I look forward to seeing Thom's next show.


Blogger Richard said ... (5:57 PM) : 

Please let's not put Dries VN and Tom Browne in the same sentence. The depth, range and knowledge of DVN is awesome (I know that word has become slang, but here I really do mean 'Awesome')

I used to buy a lot of his clothes - there was nothing that I could put on that wasn't beautifully cut, well proportioned and detailed. And he has been consistently great for years.

I think Dries must love men, women and the richness of a multi-cultural world. TB - not so much love there for anyone but himself. When I see his clothes I see a very angry, rigid man.

Sorry, just my opinion.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:59 PM) : 

I've never appreciated his designs. In my opinion he tries to hard to push the boundaries in mens fashion but it never seems to work. If you look at Dries, Margiela & even Miuccia Prada for example ... They just seem far more natural & their collections have far more fluidity.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:09 PM) : 

"Unwearable" is being kind.
That top picture looks like a Monty Python costume.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:17 PM) : 

I find myself rather torn in regards to Thom Browne's collection. I enjoy his aesthetic, knee-high stockings included, save for the now constant recycling of design. He has made it clear in interviews and with his collections that he is designing for a very specific, very fictional man. His muse is a creature of habit (as is Browne,) and we are thusly led to believe that change is the last thing to expect. The question is whether Browne will abandon his artistic dedication and resume a responsible design philosophy grounded in designing cleverly for the modern man; this is what I hope will come of his work with Brooks Brothers.

It, however, isn't uncommon to encounter such stagnancy in menswear, be it in New York or elsewhere. Our dear Hedi Slimane fell prey to the same beast of tired inspiration and churned out continually less innovative collections (the most recent of which was the biggest disappointment) after being heralded as the reinventer of the silhouette, which he was.

I am certainly not questioning Browne's creative ability, nor the technical ability of his label, despite his lack of training, as he works closely with an experienced tailor. The problem lies in the comfort of routine. If Browne can tear himself away from what is now safe to him, it is likely that his fanciful beau (likely an idealization of his youthful self) will follow.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:28 PM) : 

I could not agree more. Art for art sake is
overrated. jrehRCL


Blogger Richard said ... (6:40 PM) : 

One thing. This has inspired a very interesting online dialogue. Gotta love the 'internets.'


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:48 PM) : 

As a European, working in fashion I was never truly won over by Thom Browne's tailoring. Far from being progressive, it bypassed retro and slipped straight into historical costume - think Dickens. It was also a cut familiar to anyone who had visited Japan or shopped at Margaret Howell in London. The fact that he made such a stir in NY was simply down to the lack of variety and interesting men's tailoring here in the US. It was merely a styling trick that worked for a season and has long exceeded it's sell by date. Having basked in the acclaim for a number of years he has now chosen to produce a collection that borders on the ridiculous, a clear sign of his new found arrogance. Why don't designers try and create clothes for the 21st century rather than re-hash old ideas.


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (6:54 PM) : 

To Anon 6:17
Well put.

I think it will be interesting if and when it stops selling well at stores like Jeffrey and Colette and they drop him - will that effect his design direction?

if he keeps a low overhead he can continue to go on for a longtime just the way he is the Brooks money will help also.

I will say I am happy to have him around.

He has made menswear fun again and given us something to discuss and have strong opinions about and for that I applaud his efforts!!

ps good one Aaron!!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:16 PM) : 

I don't like the idea of thiigh-hi's for guys. But tights--for some guys, especially younger/more androgynous or lithely athletic--I can see.

It's just that unshaven, bared skin in segments is not attractive at all (to anyone).


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:32 PM) : 

Sart, you are spot on.
Thom Browne's work is fascinating in the same way a fatal car accident is in the oppposite direction of the interstate. It's very sad and disheartening, but you can't help but rubberneck at the tragedy.
I would really like to hear what redeeming quality there is to his "work."
My favorite musing on the man's "work" is the first post: "...he's in a place where his work will undermine the important [sic] of all other American designers." As you say, first poster, "[t]his show...really places him in a place of his own..."


Blogger Baddy said ... (7:38 PM) : 

Sart, I agree with you. Thom Browne is a one trick pony. Let's see what he has to offer at Brooks Brothers.


Blogger Hyon said ... (7:41 PM) : 

that is to be expected. are there really more ways to change the shape of a suit?


Blogger Maria said ... (7:44 PM) : 

How incredible that the length of a pant for men fashion creates such a debate.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:01 PM) : 

It's because of reading this blog for the past few months that I even knew the name and decided to look at the new collection (err, in short film version).

I don't know about his designs but he's an artist, that's for sure. His ideas on menswear sorta transcend fashion and delve into depths of the meaning of youth...or at least that's what I get from it.

If we're talking peices in particular, I like the idea of men in usual items every once in a while.

Take this photo, for example. I was like "Men in thigh highs! Wicked!" That's a total Prince move and I dig it.

OMG, a Prince/Thom Brown mash up film. You know how surreal *that* one would turn out!



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:08 PM) : 

i am shocked about this sudden outburst from so many people.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:09 PM) : 

BTW, I agree with Alysa: Come on up to Montreal!

And "Awwww," I missed the thigh-high controversy! I still think they're fine...assuming they're not being worn by a dude with overly hairy legs. That would defeat the point - as I see it - which is to highlight the definition of the leg whether male or female.

(Wonders what Sart said...)



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:29 PM) : 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this....I thought the same thing last season..


Anonymous AliciaInAlaska said ... (9:44 PM) : 

The shorts and thigh-highs on a guy is just silly.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:41 PM) : 

way on base sart. the thing is that he started a trend with the shrunken suits, and now EVERYONE is doing them. So that look, while still iconically him and very admirable, is not exactly novel or exciting anymore. If he wants to be a designer and not a tailor he needs to come up with some more actual ideas. The non-classic pieces of the collection seemed really forced, like he knew he couldn't send out the same things that he really wanted to send out.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:55 PM) : 

A real genius do things effortlessly. Thom Browne is trying way too hard. That to me is a sign of lack of talent.
Making unwearable clothes to me is like cooking inedible food. It's ridiculous.
After all, the hardest thing to do is to design something wearable and long-lasting in style. Apparently, Thom can't do neither.


Blogger Alessandro said ... (12:39 AM) : 

I am with you on this (just had this very discussion today with a customer). I enjoy the spectacle of TB's work but in terms of innovation, resorting to skirts is the most tried (and tired) trick in the book. Look back 15 years to Gaultier to see this truly innovated. Thom's nerdy silhouette looks best when it is worn with irony, on an athletic model's body; not so pleasing on the 5'6" man on the street.

By the way Sart, how do the jeans fit?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:00 AM) : 

Absolutely spell-binding debate going on over this guy, I love it! I'll bet there are some big-players behind a couple of those 'anonymous' posts.

This blog just gets better & better Sart...

Btw, the guy modelling those thigh-highs looks decidedly uncomfortable, poor fella.

About those things, I'll say this: They look like they might be comfortable. Depending on the material..maybe under clothing, like an alternative to long-johns perhaps?
So I wouldn't say unwearable..just unwearable in front of other people ;-)



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:58 AM) : 

You know what???, I agree with "R" ... Thom's work *already has* undermine the important work of other American designers... However I don't think that mean he will be at forefront of New American Movement for ever, or even for this year. Thom is become obsolete... Too popular. Time to step aside...


Anonymous ANDREW said ... (3:02 AM) : 

It's weird to see Browne being obvious. I feel like his whole aim has always been to be rebellious. Great. His earlier work was beautiful and smart, he was subverting power structures, making suits daring (even though, if not b/c, he was coloring in the lines). Thing is, everyone really liked it. And how can you be rebellious if everyone loves/agrees/gets what you're doing. So he made it unwearable. Guess it makes sense (statement-wise), just predictable.

also see Anonymous who posted at 2:11p, he hit the nail on the fucking head.


Anonymous Dutch said ... (3:12 AM) : 

He always struck me as just re-interpreting, and not very well mind you, a sort of austere Japanese chic. Perhaps his rise is more of an indictment of the void that was present in American menswear, no?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:43 AM) : 

when is the brooks brothers gig coming out??? this has got to be the most anticipated thing in fashion in some years.

and... are the Brooks pants going to be high-water style too?

not everyone can pull that off. especially tall people.

remember elementary school?

"waiting for the flood?"

i like thom browne. i think its easy to start to "be over him" already, in todays fast paced world. but lets let things evolve, and then settle in.

I think its good that an american designer get America thinking about "fit." Something most Americans just dont understand at all.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:26 AM) : 

that top pic? most ridiculous outfit to ever grace these pages, past present or future. please make it stop.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:54 AM) : 

I think it's good to have a trade mark that singles you out from the rest, but I do find this look a little boring and not very flattering either. It just seems like a continuation from his last collection. Almost a conveyer belt of a collection!


Anonymous carlos said ... (8:45 AM) : 

unwearable perhaps because of how much money they charge for his clothes. not worth it unless mr. browne himself is fitting me for that suit.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:32 AM) : 

I heartily agree. In mens fashion the skirt is the last resort of the creatively bereft. It is not a sage comment about gender bending in clothing or rule breaking. Its more like the drunk at a party who decides to moon at everyone to get some attention. You cant fail to notice it, but you'd wish it would go away too. Which is sort of true of the cardboard capes, womens coats and the thigh highs. Somewhere amidst all that nonsense are some beautiful clever clothes trying to get out. TB just needs to use a bit more cloth for them.
I think he's is a very talented tailor/stylist who wants against all logic to be thought of like Rei Kawakubo. Rei Kawakubo he is not...

Heres a fashion coincidence though: An offical tailor of Eton School in Windsor (outside London) (alumni Princes Harry and William) is called - Tom Brown!! It was set up in 1784. And its still going in the same store. A longevity presumably not founded on a diet of thigh high stockings and womens coats!... see you in 220 years Thom!?...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:21 AM) : 

I think you hit a "Home Run" on this one!


Blogger berkelycole said ... (12:05 PM) : 

Lighten up Sart...Let the evolution continue, develop for Thom where it will go...when has couture ever really about wearability? should know better than anyone that it is fashion is an is taking on menswear with a foward/backward glance...its full reverberations and trickle-down are yet to be seen...but they are I going to wear thigh-high knits?...doubtfully...but I am glad they are out there...provoking, tweeking and providing visuals outside the box


Blogger Resplendato said ... (12:38 PM) : 

Time will tell if the clothings sales will justify the financial backing. (think Stephen Sprouse)

I'm not sure if this is related but topics like this..make me wonder why our government still doesn't subsidize the fashion industry in the U.S.A.

How many great ideas have been left on designers sketch pads because they thought no buyer would ever go for them?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:58 PM) : 

I sort of agree with the andrgyny comments above. Smething like thigh hi's would be a late teen thing if at all, ala misshapes or something like that. I couldn't see it on this very masculine, older man. That just makes no sense at all. It is a 100% feminine look-- and it needs a feminine frame to pull it off.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:13 PM) : 

I have been trying to grasp what Thom Browne is about, and would like to cut him some slack, but it is a struggle I'm losing.

I agree with Sart -- TB has been doing/wearing this same shrunken look for several years, and while the "accessories" change (those thigh-high socks), the basic concept now seems static.

Static suggests that this is not fashion but fetish. Sure we see fetish items in women's clothing -- corsets, references to bondage, those high heels (ouch).

Things like that get a lot of attention when first introduced because of the shock value, but they don't last unless they are ultimately done in ways that make them wearable and marketable, which is exactly what Gallliano, Gaultier, Westwood, etc., have done.

They manage the transition because while those items are at their most potent in fetish wear, they also resonate with more commonplace experiences of desire -- most everybody loves a corset.

The difference between this sort of thing and Thom Browne is that I suspect his fetish isn't shared by very many people -- most of us are having trouble even "reading" it, let alone responding with any desire to play along.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:14 PM) : 

earlier anon had a good point. all the great artists are one-trick ponies if viewed cynically. it is very, very, very important for an artist to focus. when he or she breaks through, it is usually for "that thing" they do. everyone wants it, so they are forced to do it again and again.


Anonymous Martine said ... (2:16 PM) : 

I really hope that Thom Browne turns out to be more than a flash in the pan, but this last show really makes me wonder if he has the chops to move beyond the retro styling. While I love the razor-sharp 60s silhouette, and the nerd floods, I'm not sure if simply adding ladies' hosiery and other womenswear detailing is enough to charge the Thom Browne point of view forward. Did anyone else find the collection humorless?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:17 PM) : 

and here is what i like about thom browne. i love his stuff, as the first anon said, as a comment not on the world of fashion but on the world of men's clothes. out in ohio, where i live, when men dress up they tend now to all do some bad things. for one, they wear their jackets too long. for two, they wear their trousers MUCH too long. it's not a break at the ankle, it's LEGGING. it's flashdance with the crazy too-long pants. and as someone who buys most of his suits on the second-hand market, i cringe to watch them walking on the back of their trousers. it's terrible.

if thom browne can pull their pants up and get them to show a little cuff, then he's a hero in my book.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:28 PM) : 

Those who can, do.
Those who can't, take pictures ;)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:52 PM) : 

Right on, Anonymous 4:28...someone get Browne a camera!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:00 PM) : 

I dig it. Dior homme hasnt changed much either and i dont see a big fuss being made about that.


Anonymous The Fashion Informer said ... (6:30 PM) : 

First, congrats on the Cookie gig. That's very exciting news. And your kids are adorable with a capital "a."

As for Thom Browne, you are not off base at all, in my opinion. Yes, it was exciting when he first launched because his cuts were so different and seemed the kick in the pants (pardon the pun) that men's fashion needed. But a few seasons on, a few zillion pairs of short, high-waisted pants and shrinky dink jackets later (which, I'm sorry, look good on NO ONE), and it does seem to feel very same old-same old.

He's a brilliant tailor, to be sure. But creatively, he seems to have stalled before he even really got started. Which is a shame, because menswear needs some fresh new blood. And putting men in unwearable costumes, as Browne did this season, is not going to win him any new fans, and seems to have tested the patience of even his biggest boosters.

Come back, Alexandre Plokhov! Fashion needs you!!!


Anonymous the Fashion Informer said ... (6:34 PM) : 

ps - I think Browne's Brooks Brothers' line comes out this fall ('07).


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:40 PM) : 

Totally agree! To go with Ms Horne of the NYTimes -that after seeing the collection she wanted to "tell Brooks Brothers 'Good Luck!'"


Blogger SuMisura said ... (8:22 PM) : 

"...those who can't do, take pictures?"

ouch. Well, I'm so glad fashion is supposed to be fun, accessable - not just sartorial masturbation.


Anonymous tb defender said ... (8:31 PM) : 

wow. i couldn't disagree more. after reading through some of these posts i had to go back and look at the collection again to make sure i wasn't losing it.
first off, i think we are too quick to be "over" things. i see this a lot in both fashion and music. it's the whole, "we like it 'til too many people know about it," syndrome, and i think it's decidedly unhealthy for both genres.
secondly, i really liked this collection. not all of it, for instance the pleated pieces came off as a bit awkward and bulky, and some of the multicolored knee patched suits didn't work for me, and one outfit in particular (the white-speckled black-short-suit w/ knee highs, a cap, and white fur wrap) was a excessive. but out of a 40 some odd piece collection there was only a handful of things i would deem "unwearable." and i think to push things foward you sometimes need to be a little extreme. there's certainly a number of pieces that only some could pull off, but there's no shame in that.
to the point about seriousness. i agree with the comment by anonymous 12:17. and i thought this collection had just the right amount of it. enough to make you think of it as a real possibility, but with the realization that it might be a stretch for many.
i can maybe be see how one might say that this collection was a little redundant in light of past work. specifically in regards to fit and color palette. but to that i say, if it aint broke don't fix it. i still love both those elements of his work. and my guess is (especially regarding the cut of his suit) that this is not just a quirky one season trend, but that this is how he thinks men (not all, but some) should be dressing. and i think change just for change sake is unnecessary.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:31 AM) : 

This is whack! You guys complaining about Thom Browne are whack... And you'll be crying in your root beer when he's gone and being all like "Booo Hooo no one is doing anything original in menswear.. Boo Hoooo.. hooo hooo" GO out and get some appreciation for an artist putting his neck on the line.. really!!! Whew..


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:14 AM) : 

I think you need to understand that Thom is doing Haute Couture for his runway shows. It is an idea to be talked about. lets face it this is not for everyone but a very brave few. I love his work and wear all the time the way it was intended to be worn as well. Lots of second looks but is that not what it's all about. Fashion should be fun not drug over hot coals. Lighten up people and look at it with a smile.....


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:08 AM) : 



Blogger Richard said ... (11:06 AM) : 

To Anon @ 12:31: I don't see where anyone on this thread is complaining. A lot of opinions, a lot of bright people putting their 2 cents worth. But complaining? No, Just having a healthy discussion about something.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:30 PM) : 

I concur with- tb defender.

The day after TB's presentation, one couldn't help but hear "have you seen the thigh highs" at water coolers and cocktail gatherings alike all over Gotham, and emails were flying. But damn, there were some fantastic coats and wearable pieces throughout the collection. Surely there was enough for the retail and editorial community to find worthy.
With regards to the thigh highs; with every season TB has had those "special" signature pieces, that are obviously objects of pure craft and thought, that aren't conceived with practical modern utilitarian concerns. Excessiveness with a touch of the surreal, theatricality and absurdity isn't such a bad thing to be associated with in the scheme of things. We all wouldn't be typing away here otherwise. I don't believe TB is "an exercise gone to far" (Cathy Horyn).

..with regards to TB's collections being repetitive; one has only to look at Mr. Browne - he's been wearing the same white shirt and grey suit for years. I love that. He's all about repetiveness...If TB were to perpetually recycle his last 3 years worth of collections infinitum, I would be quite content.


Anonymous same old jeans said ... (2:32 PM) : 

i totally agree with the sartorialist. I adore his clothes and hes totally revamped the mens fashion in ny but it is getting old and i dont see how or when Thom will be able to wow us again with a new look.. sad but true.. lets hope that the BBs collection will be more than just ok..


Blogger Max said ... (4:10 PM) : 

Couture is fine as a statement of design philosophy, but men's clothing isn't about statements; it's about small adjustments within a set of preexisting rules.

Fashion as such isn't really for men nearly as much as it is for women.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:00 PM) : 

Holy smacks! Get over yourselves. The tights/hot-pants/over the knee leg-warmers are ridiculous. aw


Blogger David Price said ... (4:40 AM) : 

I LIKE the socks and the ankle boots! I agree with anonymous that complaining about unwearable details misses the point (it does), but I'm not sure that these details even ARE unwearable.


Blogger SuMisura said ... (12:45 PM) : 

Unless you're auditioning for a role in Charle Dickens' Oliver Twist - they're unwearable.

Designers face a burden in their artistic pursuits that painters, sculptors and the practitioners of similar mediums don’t - the burden of utility.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:33 PM) : 

I just had to get back in again..fantastic discussion!
(thanks for the boost Andrew :-)
First of all, Browne is Not a skilled tailor (however he's working with some truly good ones to make his ideas take shape).
As a "non-educated designer" myself, I find him a true source of inspiration, and the one time I met him he was down to earth, humble and seemed 100% nice.
Now, this is not the reason why I so strongly defend him, ney. The reason is the Italian expression "La Bella Figura". In short one could translate it as representing the sense of style and ability to always look well dressed that seem to come with the mothers milk to most Italians.
(Simply being a true sartorialist without even trying)
Thom Browne has this in his genes it seems.
Taking to the 60's tailored suits and silhouettes with a daring new grip, while fashion community in the U.S gave the fashion award to Sean Puffy Combs and his utterly fake, talentless and horrendous Sean John-line.
And you think tights for men is scary?
Sweet baby Jesus on a popcicle.

And while I'm at it, the boys behind Freeman Sporting Goods are my new gods.
Anyone agree?


Blogger Dino said ... (6:38 PM) : 

This is what happens when someone buys into the hype about himself. The looks screech with ridiculous pretense (as opposed to at least interesting pretense) tainting even the palatable creations with a faintly ludicrous, delusional aroma. It's been said several times that he presents a youthful, nostalgic element, but it's been done before by your local friars when they staged Death In Venice down at the all boy choir school. Thom Browne's arty attempts reads as a vegan puritan attempting surrealism.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:45 PM) : 

I love Tom browne I have a pair of gray wool pants that hit above my ankles that I wear twith boots tha stop at my ankle I stop traffice everytime. I also have pair pants that look like cuttess ..awsome I wear these with a pair of high boots ..yes I do staight to my offfice..I propbaly could not get away with this in any other city in the states I like to keep it funky..but hey I love them.. Tom could evalove yes of course , why not.. all he needs is some masculine hip hop artist to rock his gear..hahahahahaah


Blogger Shopaholic D said ... (10:15 PM) : 

that top outfit makes that man look like a little boy...maybe it's just me?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:39 PM) : 

The same coat was show 12 times in different fabrics. Definitley a one trick pony-and not a very good trick at that. He should try adding hoops of fire.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:11 PM) : 

Enough already. Clearly the camp (excuse the pun) divides neatly between those who admire Tom Browne's tailoring skills but would like him to base more of his work on that instead of these amateur theatricals. And then there are the fashion victims for whom he can do no wrong......


Anonymous pistolpete said ... (10:54 PM) : 

Why can't men look great? Classic is classic. Thome Browne is not classic. However he draws from classism which is misleading.Men's style stopped in 1945; period. Pistol Pete.


Anonymous Sean said ... (12:32 AM) : 

I completely agree. This is awful stuff. Some fashion tries far too hard and this is at the top of that heap.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:42 PM) : 

To expect perfection and to expect all pieces to be wearable is a bit much to ask especially for someone like Thom Browne. Some stuff worked and some did not. I await the reaction from Brooks Brothers and others who will decide the fate of Thom Browne.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:13 AM) : 

Oh Richard @ 11:06... Stop whining


Blogger Zaydoun said ... (11:06 AM) : 

When his first collection came out, all I could think of was Pee Wee Herman!

I never saw what the big deal was, and why he was/is so damn expensive! And now you're telling us the Brooks Brothers collection is almost as pricey?

I'll wait for the "Thom Browne for Banana Republic" collection, thank you very much... and if I want expensive I'll blow my money on Prada or Prorsum or Michael Bastian or...


Blogger cigalechanta said ... (4:22 PM) : 

I hate guys who have better legs than I :)


Blogger David said ... (11:19 PM) : 

Unwearable, Overpriced, Ugly... that surmises this season (not his past)

But he produces a reaction..

Can't say that for a lot of men's wear designers.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:22 PM) : 

Gen'elmen Gen'elmen and ladies..hear hear...

I don't suppose this will be the last word, but may I suggest to the doubting Thom-as's - make an appointment with one of the folks down at TB's shop on Hudson St. Step into the most austere luxe and cool as f--k retail environments in the city, and for cryin' out loud, take a look. Have a basis for your sweeping judgements. I wonder how many of those posting comments have seen TB's line up close and personal- Ok- show of hands..I thought so. The stuff is highly conceived and executed with exceptional qualities of material. So,it's not for everyone or even most,that's why it's fashion,that's why I love it, and I'm no victim mind you..only on that rare occasion. Regarding the thigh highs,and the like...who doesn't enjoy a little wink wink nudge nudge. And yes there is a considerable premium to pay,SO WHAT. Thom Browne isn't Eddie Bauer.

Thank You and Have a Nice Day


Anonymous Alessandro B said ... (12:24 AM) : 

I dislike (and that's putting it mildly) Thom Browne's so called design intensely. It is hideous; in fact I dislike it so much that my comments on this thread of the blog have been cesnored (Sartorilaist has not published them) at least 3 times. He, Browne, really knows how to make those of us who like the Zegna, Canali, Kiton, Borreli etc. style cringe in disbelief (and a little laughter as well)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:15 AM) : 

Wink Wink Nudge Nudge? That would imply there was a sense of humor in TB clothes. Thats just the defensive assertion of people who cannot argue their way out of a tight fitting corner... 'hey man, wheres your sense of humor?'....
In fact there is nothing funny about Thom Browne as a brand. It comes across a po-faced granite mausoleum of self-importance with absolutely no room for the tongue-in-cheek that can turn serious clothes into clever clothes. If there was a chink of humor in all that pomposity, people might be inclined to a little more forgiving than they are.


Anonymous dovima57 said ... (2:23 PM) : 

Thom Browne is definitely, absolutely a one trick pony, and now is resorting to shock tactics to try and make us think one, not even club kids will want to look like that, especially at his prices--guaranteed! Waste of time and nice fabric!!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:26 PM) : 

As my good friend Troy would say:
"He did a Chanel No. NO NO NO!" Boring. Enough said.


Anonymous it-boy of the it-bag said ... (9:07 AM) : 

oh lord, most of you sound like a bunch of old coots. no doubt you the same nay-sayers were proclaiming, ten years ago, that men "would never carry handbags".


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