It’s only a pipe dream for many fashion designers to show a collection in Paris, the undisputed capital of fashion, but for New York-based ApparelMagic client Thom Browne, it’s now reality. Relocating his seasonal presentations to the French capital gives his inventive designs the creative context they deserve, and, if his first collection is any indication, catapults his brand even farther into the land of pure imagination.
Showing in the opulent reception hall of the Paris Hôtel de Ville, Browne orchestrated a nighttime fantasy that he imagined takes place in young girls’ heads as they nod off. This was dreaming in the very literal sense, with discordant images of fantasy creatures flittering through the subconscious, from a trio of interpretive dancers dressed like Venuses of Willendorf in voluptuous suits of latex and lace, to a mermaid dress taken at its word, with the skirt parting at the feet to form two scaly flippers in periwinkle tulle. Another look cocooned the wearer and framed her face like a deep-sea cephalopod colored in by Gustav Klimt.
In easier to digest, but no less ingenious propositions, Browne’s signature suiting showed up for a turn down the runway, but only after being filtered in a somnambulant haze, like his traditionally wool pleated skirt here in fuzzy Mongolian lamb or a colorful madras jacket here sparkling with rows of sequins. An exploded check topcoat sat over a zippered button-down in another look, proving that Browne is a master of putting a spin on a staple.
By the end of the show though, the message was clear. Browne is a fantasist first and foremost, and he closed on a high note: a life-size unicorn puppet, lead by three attendants in head-to-toe sheer organza.