— December 14, 2010 —
In Menswear Confidential, top designers share the visual references and making-of stories behind their latest collections
Thom Browne Photography by Circe With his casual, high-cut suits, Thom Browne has helped revolutionise men's fashion in recent years and his attention to detail even stretches to the locations he chooses to present his collections in. S/S11, the first collection of the designer shown in Paris, was unveiled at the retro-futuristic headquarters of the French Communist Party, a building designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in the early 1970s. Browne’s signature suits — this time with a summery feel, featuring shorts and the occasional Madras check — became actors in a performance, emerging from white spacesuits and promenading through the stark interiors of this building in the 19th arrondissement.
You seem to have a special relationship with the spaces you choose to show your collections in?
The locations are really important for me. Sometimes they even influence how the collection develops. Especially with the S/S11 — I saw the Communist Party headquarters in Paris and redesigned the whole collection, because I really wanted it to work in that particular space. I want to provide an inclusive experience with my shows, not just a collection shown in a nondescript or beautiful space. This was my first show in Paris and I wanted it to be memorable and important, but also very personal. Another reason I chose this space was to be in keeping with what people think of me — being mid-20th century, 1960s and '70s, so not going for a beautiful 18th century building.
You are widely credited with reviving the suit as an American way of dressing. Do you feel that men have become a bit more chic again since you started designing?
I don’t think of it as an American thing in particular. The whole world has become quite homogenised and I don’t see dress as something regional these days. I wanted to bring back a sensibility for what used to be the establishment uniform, before jeans and T-shirts turned it upside down. But also to do something that I like myself and bring suits to an audience that was running away from them. In the late 1950s and '60s there wasn’t much of a choice for menswear, but everyone looked pretty good.
And now also womenswear?
It’s a good challenge for me right now to start designing womenswear too. It comes from the same place as my menswear, with a focus on tailoring, but is interpreted to fit a girl. I can do with this what I always wanted to do, what I think is interesting for people and you never know, something really good might come out of it. It’s still very small, but I am happy with the response.