Thom Browne – Pre Spring Summer 2016 Ready-To-Wear
What’s more all-American than an oxford cloth button-down? That was the question Thom Browne posed to himself as he started work on his latest collection. His new clothes offered an extended riff on the material, one that started out relatively straightforward, with looks in multiple colors of the fabric, and zigged and zagged all over the place, as Browne bounced off both the fabric’s washed-out palette and its ur-preppy connotations. There were a few simple, strong ideas, like the coats made from a stiff, double-weight oxford cloth and the button-down shirtdresses with pleated skirts. Browne’s pastel-toned tweeds, cotton cashmere waffle knits, and pieces in a Japanese school uniform plaid likewise had a very direct appeal.
Naturally, though, there were more idiosyncratic looks on offer, like a scarf skirt in a primary-colored fish print, or a double-breasted blazer and matching miniskirt patchworked out of wool crepe, pleated silk, rubberized tweed, and floral jacquard. The palette of the latter was subdued enough to make the look go down easy, despite the density of visual and textural information. Some of the nicest touches were subtle ones—Browne softened the shoulder of various jackets, tops, and dresses by affixing a bias-cut sleeve, and there was a similarly relaxed quality to his update on his signature cropped sack trouser, which came in versions with a looser leg this season.
Elsewhere, contrast fringe served as nice punctuation on various looks, notably the cotton oxford cloth pieces that formed the heart of this collection. Browne carried the fringe embellishment through to waffle knits and standard wool mohair tailoring; that was one of several ways that he created a sense of continuity. For all its longueurs—and this was a collection that started with oxford cloth and wound its way to luxe, tropical-scene jacquards—this outing did feel coherent. Browne is a discursive designer, but as he proved again this season, he’s always in full command of the story he’s telling.