January 24, 2016
By Marcellous L. Jones
Paris, France – Thom Browne returns to the Paris Event Center in the city’s 19th arrondissement for the presentation of his new collection. The performance starts strong and ends stronger with what may seem like a prequel that explains how the house of Chanel gained it DNA codes. More on that later, but let’s get to the start of the collection…
First, two identically dressed gentlemen models appeared in gray short pants with large cuffs. They wear matching hats, vests and slimming coats that are a hybrid of a redingote and a blazer. They arrive and remove the white sheets that cover the thirteen giant-sized and empty frames that hang from the ceiling on wires. The show starts in full and the next models too arrive in beautifully tailored looks. The identities of the models are hidden away behind the hats. They position themselves on either side of the frames as if to see another facet of themselves.
The flannel widely used in the collection has been rushed and is used to make fuzzy wide bands. They are placed on the arms of the coat, and which do not ever seem to reach the wrists. The suit pieces have embroideries that distinguish them further. Entire ensembles are done with matching ties and hats. And like the sleeves of Browne’s coats and blazers, the legs of the trousers can’t seem to reach the ankles. They are finished with wide cuffs.
When navy blue is introduced, we find it with copper buttons in the blazers, coats, and vests. The cape coats are round, full and are finished with mink trims. Piping now becomes refreshing as we see it also added to the individual garments.
In the accessories Thom Browne offers in addition to the hats a nice selection of gloves, sleek backpacks and brief cases made into backpacks. For fans of little dogs, the designer has created little leather bags in the form of teckels. Their effigy also appears as small embroidered embellishments in the pieces.
Soon after Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel created the house of Chanel more than a hundred years ago, she began integrating masculine elements into her creations. As the popularity of her no-nonsense wears grew, she borrowed more and more characteristics from the male wardrobe such as jerseys and tweeds. Incidentally the last section that Thom Browne presents in his Fall Winter 2016/17 collection reads like a prequel to Chanel’s story. In seeing it one gets the impression that Browne is revealing to us the fashions that influenced Madame Chanel and that she in turn used as a partial basis for her house’s DNA.
In this powerful section, Mr. Browne introduces a small selection in white. The coats are trimmed with black piping and black buttons. Thick black mink appears on the bottom of the coat as well as on the large lapel collars and the sleeve endings. When the beautiful tweed jacket appears, it is only a matter of time before the comparisons naturally come between this collection and the elements that inspired Madame Chanel. Browne has interpreted his message very well and even managed to find a rightful place for the pearl embroideries that also appear on the coats.