As the Thom Browne show began to unfold (about 50 minutes late,) Bjork shushed us from the loudspeakers and raw light bulbs flickered, alighting headless body casts that hung overhead (disembodied leg casts were strewn on the ground below).
The models that first appeared had a task to attend to before the show could really begin, first filling plastic cups with white candies from carts throughout the show space, then doling them out – like medicine – to editors and buyers in the crowd. It made sense, then, that they were dressed in nurse-like all white, in bustled, pearl button-backed dresses, and latex tights and white ruffled socks. For this, Jack Nitzsche’s Medication Valse played, which appeared in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. From that point, the references were clear: we were in Thom Browne’s insane asylum.
Confused and delicate, with her lipstick smeared about her powdered face, the first patient emerged, slowly making her way through the space, stopping for photos and to make eye contact with those in front of whom she paused. The rest who followed, with empty handbags haphazardly tossed open, devoid of contents probably stripped during check-in, made the same rounds, gingerly and politely resting one hand on the other.
photo via @thombrownenyc
Everyone sported a wild, vertiginous mess of hair that red- and pearl-embellished nets did nothing to contain. The sculpted dresses with latex overlay, suggestive ruffles, and stiff fabrics, were accompanied by to-the-chin necklines, and latex gloves with white acrylic fingernails attached. One model wore an actual straitjacket, if a couture-like one. It was a little bit funny, if you could forget the tragedy of losing one’s mind.
Though beautiful, the clothes were entirely unrealistic to wear in a modern, sane, everyday life. Sculptured curves would inhibit any form of repose. The clothes were fantastical, and though institutionalism isn’t for everyone, that drastic disregard for reality, though sad, is a somewhat luxurious expense – there’s something glamorous in living in Thom Browne’s world.
Main image via @cindi_leive