Thom Browne’s Wild Pass

Purist menswear canon pervaded Paris Fall/Winter 2012-13 shows. And then there was Thom Browne! Imagine Frankenstein, evolved, on one man #occupy mission. This was an ode to the darker side of the American Dream in shades of grey. Dirty pink and dollar-green colors rounded up the palette to portray zeitgeist hopscotch of hope and wrongdoing. Welcome Browne, the activist.

On one hand… Here are your requisite black, navy blue and starched-linen white woolen suits. There are your signature preppy prints that scream “East Coast casual”: terrier puppies, geese, anchors. Worry not, classic ties are still tight against Adam’s apples, handkerchiefs are firmly in chest pockets and briefcases are as boxy as ever. Nothing to see here! Move right along! On the other… Browne has morphed the elite US work and leisure style staples into decisive caricatures of themselves. Oversized padding misshapes shoulders and knees yet leaves ankles and wrists exposed evoking images of American football players and silent era Hollywood villains. Grotesque anonymity of Wall Street top brass and the alarming machismo and bravado of the current race for presidential candidacy can be seen in this expert tailoring at the service of madness. Collection’s conceptual highlight comes from non-mask headwear pieces which appear as a cross between American football helmet and Depression-era prisoner hat.

Sharp and dull studs in silver and gold colors are effectively used not merely as S&M accessories meant to faux-radicalize otherwise traditional looks, but as design elements that help shape the entire outfit. Safety pins, a long term punk signifier, work in a similar fashion. Furthermore, Browne genderbends current military and sport trends till they break into looks with bare midriffs and stern skirts in the midi to maxi range, complete with laced up knee high combat boots. Theatrics and shorts-pants aside, the collection still offers more coveted items than many of the prêt-à-porter offerings this season: the grey and pink plaid looks, coordinated socks-gloves-scarves combos, all the oversized knits. Even the masks are oddly appealing. Thom Browne makes a wild pass and… he scores!

  DEPESHA is proud to present Thom Browne's Fall/Winter 2012-13 Women and Menswear collections as part of its American Program at the Aurora Fashion Week Russia in St Petersburg, April 2012. Alexey Timbul

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