“The landscape is majestic, beautiful, and romantic,” starts Thom Browne in his characteristically easy-going voice.
“It reminds me of a David Lean film,” he adds, citing the British director of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. Browne is speaking about Egypt – or Misr, as the country is fondly called by those who know it with some intimacy. Browne has not yet traveled to the land of the pharaohs himself, yet his imagination’s impression of the desert landscape – “quiet and mysterious” – was enough to inspire these evocative images featuring his wind-swept heroine.
Known for his impeccable tailoring and disruptive suiting (his own uniform is a quirky three-piece suit, cut above the knee), Browne has oft spoken of a desire to be transported to different worlds. Hailing from Allentown in Pennsylvania, he cuts clothes creating a classic American sensibility with a beguiling twist. He first approaches design as a study on proportion and shape. If his sketches are conceptual, they ultimately come to life in collections that debut in visually charged and animated shows that look like a moving still from Metropolis or Death in Venice, films he regularly references for their strong visuals.
Originally published in the May 2019 issue of Vogue Arabia
Browne launched his eponymous label almost 20 years ago with five suits in a small shop in West Village, New York, open to its male customers by appointment only. Within two years, the business had expanded to offer a full ready-to-wear fashion and accessories line for men. By 2011, he was designing for women and today, Thom Browne clothes are offered across 40 countries, in 31 flagships, and more than 300 multi-brand boutiques and department stores. The FIT Couture Council Award winner and multi-time CFDA menswear designer of the year has also seen his work recognized by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the ModeMuseum Antwerpen, and on his home turf of New York at the Museum of Modern Art and the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Browne will again walk the halls of the Met this month to partake in fashion’s greatest annual interpretive fashion parade – the Met Gala. Following last year’s “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” showcase, “Camp” is this year’s theme, with the exhibition exploring a combination of high art and pop culture curated by Andrew Bolton. “I love seeing people’s interpretation of Andrew’s ideas,” comments Browne, suggesting that he takes just as much enjoyment filling the shoes of a fashion spectator as he does as one of its foremost provocateurs.