Leave It to Thom Browne to Hold the Space Olympics

Thom Browne is one of the most cinematic designers around—he has the imagination of an old Hollywood dreamer. Last March, he staged a preppy Noah’s Ark; a few weeks before that, a droll dinner party for animals slicing into a human cake. So he embraced the challenge of a video show with characteristic panache: “It just came really naturally to all of us because we kind of do it every season,” Browne said in a Zoom interview last week. It wasn’t really a challenge for him to create a short film, and he pulled it off effortlessly The conceit was pure Browne: the 2131 Olympics, taking place on the moon, with each of the athletes attired in what the commentator, played geniusly by comedian Jordan Firstman, referred to as the work of “Earth-based designer Thom Browne.” It was a pitch-perfect mix of Browne’s extremely human sense of humor—Hector, his dachshund and mascot, appears as a UFO to deliver the torchbearers—and his riche oddballness.

But don’t let the video distract you from the fact that this collection had, plainly, some of the most beautiful clothing Browne has produced in seasons, or maybe ever. His past few collections have been wonderfully dotty and brash—his spring 2020 codpiece-and-panniers show was a personal favorite. But this collection was done in nearly all white, peaceful, bright, and almost solemn. “I was definitely thinking of it as hopeful,” Browne said. “It just felt really clean, and really hopeful.” The silhouette itself was a little looser, the jackets a bit more relaxed and the men’s skirts less prim and more wearable, more elegant. He said he was looking at the silhouettes of the 1920s, which gave the pieces a sense of suppleness and freedom, but it also just looked so rich, all those cashmeres and cotton piques and wools embroidered with Browne-ian witticisms like crests as well as beaded renderings of Browne’s own highly unusual sketches.

Courtesy of Thom Browne

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