Visualize it: Thom Browne on a whaling schooner off the coast of New England, his outfit wet from the spray of the surf and salt from the sea drying on his face.
Although the story is admittedly “a total lie,” the designer said, the thought of embarking on such an expedition got him to thinking about Moby Dick, the inspiration for his pre-fall collection.
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Browne released the looks from his women’s pre-fall last week and the pieces were nearly identical. But as one of the pioneers of genderless dressing, that isn’t too surprising.
“The collections are getting closer and closer,” he said. The fabrics are developed at the same time in factories in France and India — although some of the men’s pieces are heavier — but the tweeds, twin sets and elaborately embroidered coats work equally well for both genders, he believes. “The men’s and women’s has evolved into one beautiful story,” Browne said, adding that when the collection goes on sale, “they’re both housed in the same stores so they need to relate.”
Among the key pieces are a down-filled intarsia and flannel storm coat with embroidered images of a whale, sailboats and other seafaring references. Similar references make an appearance in many of the most-complex pieces that feature vignettes from the Herman Melville classic, such as marine mammals and lighthouses.
Browne took on workwear by offering his distinct take on the category with a car coat with corduroy pockets and collar that he paired with his version of the duck boot — looks that enhance the whole preppy/Nantucket/New England aesthetic.
Of course, the line also offers classic Thom Browne pieces such as the gray jacket with a pencil skirt, cardigans with his four classic white stripes on the sleeve, and a black overcoat with a strong shoulder.
And it wouldn’t be a Thom Browne collection without a little humor tossed in for his followers. Once again, he turned to his dachshund, Hector, as the comic relief, turning him into a “merman” for one of the bags and letting him loose in the center of a toile coat to “take the whale down. Ahab couldn’t do it, but Hector will,” Browne said with a smile.
The designer will return to the runway in February when he shows men’s and women’s together during New York Fashion Week. As the incoming president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, his presence on the calendar is essential to help bring some of the luster back to the U.S.
Although Browne is holding off on laying out his agenda for the organization until he takes over in January, he said he’s “excited” to get started and has lots of ideas. So stay tuned.
Launch Gallery: Thom Browne Men’s Pre-Fall 2023