Thom Browne on the Story Behind His Creature-Filled A/W20 Collection

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THOM BROWNE Fall 2020 FW20 AW20 collection Katerina Jebb
All clothing and accessories from the THOM BROWNE Autumn/Winter 2020 collectionImagery by Katerina Jebb

This collection was inspired by references as diverse as gender neutrality, classic – and not so classic – tailoring and Noah’s ark. Here, the designer celebrates the beauty of animals and the significance of them coming in two by two

“The collection is about that sophomoric story of Noah’s ark, of animals coming in two by two. There is something charming about the easy story of it, the innocence of animals. Personally, I love animals. There’s something really pure about having animals around. For me, then there’s the idea of the embroideries, the preppy idea of embroidering animals on pieces of clothing.

“A collection always starts from proportion – by thinking about how I can play with proportions in a different way, in a way that will make the collection evolve. Of course, there are references to movies and to art, but sometimes, just closing my eyes and trying to think of something interesting to me is where it comes from. I love the idea of pushing strong feminine ideas into the men’s collection and strong masculine ideas into the women’s collection. Especially in the times we’re living, men and women are so much more open to different types of ideas, and it not being so clearly masculine or feminine. The most interesting idea with this collection was the notion of the looks being pushed to a point where you really didn’t know who was the guy and who was the girl. Which also links to that story of Noah’s ark, in a way.

“My parents, both being professionals, worked, so I grew up around tailoring. So much of what I do is connected to the classic idea of tailoring, but it’s a total rebellion against any type of rule. If you were to talk to real, traditional tailors, they would probably laugh at what I do. I have such an appreciation for the quality of hand-tailoring but, for me, there needed to be a new conversation with regard to how people perceived it. And I would never limit myself by saying that I wouldn’t do something.

“I love when people have different interpretations of what I do, but sometimes my ideas aren’t as intellectually thought-out as some people think. I love taking really simple ideas and putting them in front of people – but then, them being interpreted in a deeper way is interesting to me, too. If you’re going to ask me where it’s coming from, it might be Bugs Bunny as opposed to Rothko. I love approaching my collections in an almost childlike way. I think there are a lot of American references that I play with in most of my collections, an American sensibility. That is something I want people to feel.

“I guess I get bored, so sometimes I just want to entertain myself. I think it’s fun to surround the collections with a story. There’s definitely an interest in making sure there’s something entertaining, a little bit of escape and fantasy, especially now. It’s the most important time to be fantastic and show beautiful things and to inspire, to create things that take people out of their realities. I think creativity is always the most important thing to celebrate in times like these.”

Taken from a conversation with Alexander Fury.

Talent: Kieran Dowling. Assistant: Lucca Lutzky. Digital post-production: Jade Ambre.

This story appears in AnOther Magazine Autumn/Winter 2020, which is on sale internationally.