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Alan Flusser On Thom Browne


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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Alan Flusser On Thom Browne

New York is at the beginning of a menswear revival.
Michael Bastian, Cloak, Barker Black are creating collections with a level of sophistication we have not seen here in years.
Thom Browne is the lighting rod of this group. His designs are based on the classic work of the Brooks Brothers/ JFK 60’s, which I know you are a big fan of, so what is your take on Thom Browne?

“Those are the most irresponsible clothes I’ve ever seen in my 30 years in fashion.
To charge that much money for a coat that is deliberately short……the whole thing is like, childlike. I understand the sensibility; believe me I understand, it but if you want to sell a customer that, that to me is… I’m sure the allure is that is “new classics” but that is as “fashiony” as Dolce & Gabbana.”

But don’t you think that is the customer who is buying it.
“As long as people understand that - it's ok. As long as they understand it is of limited longevity, that is ok but I don’t think they sell it like that. Thom Browne doesn’t wear like that. I think it is irresponsible - if I was Bergdorf I would be out of my mind.“

Comments on "Alan Flusser On Thom Browne"


Blogger np0804 said ... (9:17 AM) : 

I think Alan Flusser knows more about men's clothing than most of the rest of us put together so people should listen carefully when he speaks. . .


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:34 AM) : 

Hear, hear! Finally a rational dissenting voice.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:36 AM) : 

It's "childlike" because guys wearing them look like men in children's clothing.

It's "irresponsible" only for the customer who so parted with his money for such outfits.

In the end, however, we can all dress and spend our cash how we see fit. This fad will soon fade, but at least it causes some discussion.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:57 AM) : 

Wow, that sure makes Mr. Flusser sound old and reactionary. It seems to me that Thom Browne et al are at the forefront of a movement that is engaging a new generation with their interpretation of the sartorial sensiblity. How can that be a bad thing?
Once you get this new customer into jackets and suits, I hope it will be difficult to get them out of them.
My new Thom Browne jacket arrived yesterday - and I am thrilled with it. Thom makes a beautiful, quality garment. At my fitting, he insisted on adjusting the length by 1/2 inch, because "a half inch makes a huge difference." I admire the purity of his vision. And I think his clothes look good on me.
It's interesting that Mr. Flusser refers to the clothes as "childlike," especially in the same week that New York magazine's cover story is about not wanting to grow up - all those guys on the cover in their 30s and 40s dressed like grade schoolers in t-shirts and hoodies. That looks childish. To me, this urge toward a blazer or suit (that Thom Browne and others are really creating) is a hopeful sign of a new guy seeking maturity.
And a PS to Mr. Flusser - it's all "fashion," whether it's Brooks Brothers or Bergdorf's.


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

I couldn't agree more with the idea that Thom Browne is as fashiony as Dolce.
It's not a new classic, it's a fashion-forward proportion that is influencing fashion for men and that's that! The quality is debatable for the price:the make is not amazing, even in the couture-for-men sense and certainly nowhwere near saville row or even the best of italy.
It's up there with Dior and Prada in terms of fabulousness, but not in terms of quality.
I have to give it to him for giving a jolt to New York fashion, but let's call it like it is-it's fashion and on that score it's o.k.
I went into Cloak the other day and was blown away by the quality and originality of the clothes- attention to detail innovative use of fabrics. You can't buy clothes like that in a thrift store, but for the sheer love of fashion, you can get a shrunken 60's suit at a thrift shop and pull that look together.


Blogger MrWynn said ... (10:26 AM) : 

What Thom Browne has done is to really leave the realm of Alan Flusser and "dressing" and moved into something I consider "costume". The rules Mr. Flusser is applying of proper length and classic proportion are correct and will make anyone look better. However the Thom Browne customer is evidently not concerned with this and would rather convey to the world not the idea of "noticing the man, not the clothes" but the idea of Thom Browneness. Every time I see Mr. Browne, I can't help but notice how big his head is, or is made to look by the distorted proportion of his clothing.

That being said, what's wrong with it? Remember when the Japanese were experimental? Odd lumps everywhere, an extra sleeve coming out of the back? If the message you want to convey to the world is how progressive you are, rather than say tasteful, more power to you.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:49 AM) : 

New York men's fashion is in a sad state when the controversy is over a half an inch of cloth.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:54 PM) : 

It's all style/fashion, just another set of choices. What I don't like is the idea that what he is doing is some radical change. Its just a small suit. One season, a couple of seasons and baggy will be back, or something else. Get over it and dress how you like.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:42 PM) : 

I've been wearing TB for a couple of years, almost daily..I've never gotten one comment that the clothing/suits are "childlike".(and I have ears behind my head) These comments always seem to come from men who can't wear it or get it in their size..or can't justify the expense... It's dissapointing Alan Flusser can't seem to muster up something positive for TB. People have to seperate what's done for editorial and what reality is... the tailoring is personal choice..those buying TB most often opt for a modified look. I hope TB wins the CFDA award and brushes Alan Flusser aside when he steps up to receive it.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:05 PM) : 

I'm in complete agreement with Mr. Flusser's comments although I would not go so far as to call it irresponsible. Clients are aware of what they are getting into (no punn intended) when they walk up to Thom Browne's workshop.

I've heard it said that men's business attire has changed very little in 100 years and perhaps even less in 50 years because it has almost attained perfection. Besides, men in children's clothing has a disturbing psychology to it that goes beyond any "Peter Pan" complex some NY men may have. It just goes to show you that good taste and fashion don't always go hand in hand.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:12 PM) : 

Bravo!!!! That's what they said about rock and roll! "Childish." "Irresponsible." Amen! It's good to think young again. Remember fun?! The more the old establishment is pissed off by Thom, the better. That's punk to me. Keep it coming old men. My pants are being hemmed higher than ever!!!!


Blogger MrWynn said ... (4:42 PM) : 

You know, in re-reading my post, I think tasteful may be construed not exactly as I meant it. I don't mean to say that Thom Browne is not tasteful, just not classically so.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:16 PM) : 

Mr. Alan Flusser gets it!!

T(h)om Brown(e) might be able to fool neo-fashionists with non-traditional attire, But tradition is traditional because it endures. He is like a drop of water about to fall into a hot skillet, poof!!

Tom Brown thinks changing fashion is as cute and easy as respelling his name.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:12 PM) : 

"Fashion" and "Style" are two differing things.

Thom Brown etal. stuffs are fashionable but hardly stylish.

Blame it on Forrest Gump for starting it!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:52 PM) : 

Finally someone to cut through all the flowery praise of Thom Browne and tell it like it is. I agree wholeheartedly with him


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:02 PM) : 

speaking of childish..I love that Alan Flusser seems a tad bit rattled by the new crop(no pun intended)of NY menswear designers...who offer custom tailoring and service. Thankfully there's room in the sandbox for everyone to play.


Blogger Max said ... (8:06 PM) : 

I don't pay extra for anything I couldn't [or wouldn't] do myself, and it would be fairly easy to pop down to the thrift store, pick up a close-fitting suit, and chop a couple inches off the sleeves and legs.

I say go for it if it's your thing, but unless it's custom made, anyone who is wearing an outfit that they paid more than $500 total for looks like an idiot in my book. Thrift store shopping isn't that hard.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:56 PM) : 

Alan F. comments are the only thing irresponsible. Do you or any one on this site know anything about quality clothing ? You talk in quality clichés, there is no real intelligent voice !
Thom may win the CFDA but for me after John Varvados won it it ceased to have importance. So called "Designer" has lost its meaning! Thom B., Michael Bastin, etc..... Are part of a menswear Gimmick revival. Do we look better than our fathers? Making Jackets too short and Pants too short and too high is what a designer is about ?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:03 PM) : 

From the standpoint that Thom's RTW suits are sold in fashionista boutiques like Ron Herman & Collette, Mr. Flusser's comments are spot on.


Blogger MrWynn said ... (6:35 PM) : 

I have been wondering, is there a counterpart for Thom Browne in the women's realm? I can't really think of one. I think it might be because in women's wear, oddity is more accepted as artistic. Maybe the rules are just looser.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:16 PM) : 

Let's see- an women's designer that makes weiredly proportioned uberexpensive clothes?
Comme Des Garcons, Marni, Early Prada,Yohji,Margiela. The good thing about TB is that he is making a designer statement for men from an american piont of view, which is admirable.
Who says that it always has to be "commercial"? American men's design should have as much cachet and daring as Europe does.


Blogger MrWynn said ... (8:53 PM) : 

I agree all those designers have had their radical moments, but I just can't imagine the same kind of radical polarization over Marni. Maybe I don't read the right blogs.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:43 PM) : 

I like Thom's vision and guts to try something very different. But, I wouldn't buy one. I'm 6'2" and 190lbs. I met Thom at his launch at Bergdorf. He looks great in it, but with my build it would look wrong. It would be too extreme and exagerated.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:38 AM) : 

The "Odd" as design, Is that the American way ??
The two odd points in TB clothing is the price and they way you look in them! The Europeans and Japanese can do all there odd things but the price for it is not ultra-expensive. They to maintain a certain balance. Going to a custom tailor and having him make a odd American-fashion-collection is a difficult and often a business failure. The retailers love because you make them money, but at what percentage of sales is full price ?? Where is the real business ??


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:35 PM) : 

So funny how contentious this site becomes the minute the subject of TB comes up. I buy it, I wear it, I like it.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:53 PM) : 

Mr. Browne is an artist whom I would compare with the architect Robert Venturi. Both take traditional elements, especially from Americana, and distort them brilliantly. Venturi's windows are "too big", Browne's cuffs are "too big".The patterns on Venturi's brickwork might connote "1950s American University". Browne's fabrics may say "stiff-as-a-board ivy league". Both revel in deliberate awkwardness. The intent is humorous and dead serious at the same time.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:00 PM) : 

the most over-rated designer since miguel androvar - remember him?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:13 AM) : 

god forbid somebody actually thinks out of the box. not everybody wants to dress in an unassuming manner like an old banker. perhaps people like to dress with a unique expression, and are tiard of dressing the same way that men have for the past 100 years. i fully understand proportion, however i think cloths are about fun, not conforming and being boring and sticking to alan's rules. if it were up to alan we would all only have one type of dress shirt, and one place for the notch on our lapelle, and outrageous full pants. also as a young male i do not really think that an alan flusser suit will get you any attention from the ladies. so i say if you want to show a little of your rear, and expose your ankle do it with pride, and sacre thoes old men back into their 5th avenue homes.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:49 AM) : 

Excellent discussion.
Respectful, passionate - but not too much.
One flaw in the TB marketing pitch: Any man wearing his suits will not be mistaken for JFK or James Bond (men).
To me, they reference PeeWee Herman (boy).


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:23 AM) : 

I'm a little confused by the fact that Cloak is lumped in here--seems like bad copyediting. Alexandre Plokhov definitely plays off the idea of being classical and timeless, and the tongue-in-cheek is the deadpan of it all. Cloak isn't fashion, it's ideas being well-made. Even his t-shirts show a self-acknowledgement with a gentle wink (look at his Fall collection).

Thom Browne mounts a thin line between ideas and fashion, but he's not exclusively New York. He's the New York version of Middle America. It's very punk ,quite different, and quite important that it exists. And the tailoring has little to do with random thrift store suits. It's impeccable.


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

I know this will sound absurd to some, but looking at the creations of Mr. Browne bring Pee Wee Herman's outfit to mind...think about it!!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:40 PM) : 

"I think Alan Flusser knows more about men's clothing than most of the rest of us put together so people should listen carefully when he speaks. . . "


piss off you louse. you're more boring than flusser.

and browne is just capitalizing on what us nerds have known all along



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:29 PM) : 

If I were 15 years younger and 15 pounds lighter, I would probably wear some of Thom Browne's designs. I think his clothes look great...on the right body. And I know it's not mine. But I can still appreciate what he does. As for the price, if you can afford it, it's your money.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:29 PM) : 

The short jackets might look good on me but the pants are ridiculous!


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

Thom Borwne's clothes are, of course, extreme. But they are not trying to be invisible or boring! they are trying to be innovative. It's wonderful that he is moving fashion in the direction of costume, but frankly, this is what generations of innovative designers, especially women's designers, have done. Few of us will wear suits as small, as tight, as short as his. But all of us, in a short year or two, will buy a better looking, better fitted, slimmer suit.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:23 PM) : 

Thom Browne isn't trying to prove anything. He is simply making clothes that he likes, and making great money from it - why not?

I agree that the only men that oppose TB's concepts for suits are the ones that are either too big or too cheap.

They're not for everything; that is obvious. Get over this stupid argument.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:44 PM) : 

I think there are much more interesting ways to be innovative than Thom Browne. I'd like to se someone revive older fashions 18th century stuff which bears a similarity to what you see people wearing today in that it's tight and sexy. Thom Browne is really just a variation on the theme of the suit so essentially it's conservative not innovative and it really looks poorly proportioned and neurotic.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:55 PM) : 

I thought Brooks Brothers was all about classics. The ability to carry over to the next year something you purchased last year or ten years ago. Wasn't it all about being timeless? TB's stuff won't be able to see next week, let alone next season!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:01 AM) : 

I welcome TB's counterargument to the baggy, boxy, boring stuff that the creatively bankrupt members of the suit industry have been passing off as "classic" for decades. Brook Brothers and other American suits, in particular, have long been slovenly sacks, "crisp" only on the rack, burdening innocent male professionals with absurdly excess amounts of fabric. These suits have been, in fact, cut absurdly LONG in the leg, as if overcompensating for a conventional businessman's paranoid fear of showing a bit of ankle should he, in an unguarded moment, do anything so unmasculine as crossing his legs. Bravo, Thom Browne, for freeing the nimble and articulated man from bolts of pointless worsted flapping feebly in the airconditioned confines of business america.


Blogger LMS said ... (11:21 AM) : 

I certainly am not the authority on these matters that Mr. Flusser is, but I had similar views on Thom Browne's Black Fleece collection for women at Brooks Brothers. I found both the clothes and the price tag so ridiculous, I was compelled to blog about them.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:09 AM) : 

Let people dress as they like. Fashion is an art, and some people like to be galleries.


Anonymous RH said ... (12:34 PM) : 

I have garments from Brooks Brothers Black Fleece by Thom Browne stacked from floor to ceiling in my closet. Thom Browne is my primarily clothing brand and from experience, I have been said to look younger in the clothing, but not "child-like". To be honest Alan Flusser isn't wearing anything interesting in this picture to comment on the clothing selection that Mr. Browne gives. Yes, the clothing is intensely shorter, but if the since 1818 Brooks Brothers thinks he is worthy of representing them then I'm with Mr. Browne. That goes for Bergdorf Goodman too. Also the amount of awards he has won over the span of 5 years is a fact to take into consideration.


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