Monday, September 14, 2009
Michael Whittaker in Thom Browne
I'm forever bemoaning my Kiwi heritage when I come to these international fashion weeks - we're about as high up on the list of power countries as Antarctica - but today it came in quite handy. I was standing out front at Thom Browne (the most important menswear show of the week - also NZ model Michael Whittaker's first), wondering how I was going to get myself in. Security was extra tight - velvet ropes, three PR guys on the desk triple checking each name, copious amounts of security guards... things were looking grim. But then I heard a familiar sounding accent coming from one of the 12 or so men clad in Thom Browne's signature grey shrunken suits - he was speaking with a bunch of important looking Japanese men. When he'd finished, I went and introduced myself.
Turns out he was an Australian named Josh Sparks, very friendly, very welcoming, oh, and he just so happened to be the CEO of Thom Browne. I chatted with him for a few moments, then he left me to speak with some buyers. About two minutes later he came back to chat again - us Antipodeans gotta stick together. I explained my no-invite situation and he immediately assured me, "No worries mate, we'll squeeze you in". Gotta love that laid back Aussie attitude.
Josh Sparks - CEO of Thom Browne
He walked me to the door, straight past security and in to the show venue (Thom Browne's Tribeca store), shook my hand wished me luck then went on his way. With service like that, looks like I'll be a Thom Browne fan for life. I waited along the back wall as all the guests filed through, and was testing the lighting on my camera when a young PR girl asked if I'd like a second row seat. I thanked her but said that I was taking pictures so it'd be better if I was standing. "Better than the front row?" she asked. I laughed and followed her to a front row seat.
Cole Mohr opening the show
Cole Mohr opened the show in a giant grey flannel overcoat with extreme drop crotch pants, the kind that almost make you waddle a little as you walk. Waddle like a fish out of water (if a fish had legs to walk). Fish, fishing and underwater adventure motifs ran throughout the collection. Oversized French cuffs on a jacket and pants suggested extra protection from the water. Full length sheer plastic tunics hung like fish skin and swordfish prints appeared on everything from pants and jackets to trailing trains. There were still the signature Thom Browne shrunken suits, seen here though with extra cropped and cuffed oxford bags.
Luke Worrall in his Yellow Submarine uniform
References to the Beatles appeared throughout - turtle necks with blazers, Browne's take on the Beatle boot - but most obviously in the soundtrack which was all scored by the band. Yellow Submarine had been playing two seconds when British model Luke Worrall (Kelly Osborne's boyfriend) walked out in a vinyl yellow trench.
The finale fish suit
The show closed with a model in a scaly fish suit, his face covered by a long hat with two dark circles for eyes.
Thom Browne (in LGS) putting the finishing touches on an outfit
There's no doubt Thom Browne has a lot of fun with his collections. They might not be commercial (or easy to wear for the average man), but every season he consistently pushes the boundaries of menswear - and of course his famed LGS (Little Grey Suit). That LGS is a powerful thing - a friend of mine wore one around the city all day and the amount of times he was stopped on the street by photographers, admirers and fans was absurd. That LGS might just be the key to conquering big bad NYC.
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