Thom Browne takes to the Ice
by Ian Laughead
From their looks to the way they move, penguins are arguably the funniest of the animal kingdom. And for a designer who loves to inject more than a little bit of humor into his fashion, Thom Browne’s adoption of a penguin motif this season seems particularly apt.
Staging his typically wacky piece of theatre on a set imitating a frozen lake and surrounded by these chilly birds (sewn in wool houndstooth, of course,) the ApparelMagic client brought forth an cadre of ice skating tomboys in suiting that ranged from steadfastly conservative with only outré proportions to mark Browne’s involvement all the way to the far-out groovy of one particular astrakhan overcoat paneled in primary colors to duplicate a childish illustration of a storybook-style prairie church.
The penguin motif appeared in a dozen iterations. Sometimes it was nearly tessellated on a patent leather coat, other times a full-size version functioned as a leather handbag. The final models, however, in their black and white and bow ties, reminded us that while the classic tuxedo is often jokingly called a “penguin suit,” under Browne’s supervision it can be as modern and chic as it is funny.