Thom Browne tells a very fashionable bedtime story

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — Walking into a Thom Browne fashion show often feels like walking onto the set of a Tim Burton movie, with the most fabulous and chic costumes imaginable.

And the designer didn't disappoint on Monday evening when he presented his spring 2015 collection, in a runway show that felt more like a fashion designer's dream version of "Alice in Wonderland."

The soundtrack was actually a bedtime story for the audience, read by a familiar voice that Browne identified, in a post-show interview, as Diane Keaton, a fan of his clothes. "Good evening, everyone," she began, promising "a short story, a simple story, a timeless story."

The story, written by Browne himself, was about six sisters who enjoy coordinating their wardrobes, Monday through Friday. (On the weekend, apparently they like to be naked, but this was a mere passing reference.) Each sister has a different sensibility.

The models, of course, brought life to the story, appearing in truly wondrous combinations of fabric and color. Much more than his spookier February show, for which Browne created a church and dressed his models like strangely robotic nuns, these clothes, many of them suits, were outfits you'd want to pluck off the runway and wear to a party.

There were lots of suits — first pantsuits, with Browne's trademark shorter legs, starting in charcoal gray and moving into prints and wilder colors, tweeds, and florals. Then there were suits with skirts, like one with strips of color flying off of it, or a tweed suit in black and white with huge floral appliques. There were brilliantly colored coats and silky patterned dresses.

And there were the hats — by milliner Stephen Jones — from a shiny silver flared model that looked like well-molded aluminum foil, to a lacy white concoction that would have shamed all the guests at a royal wedding, to, best of all, a hat molded into the outlined shape of a handbag, resting on the head at a slightly cockeyed angle.

Backstage, Browne explained how integral each piece was to his storytelling.

"Every single piece is important to the story," said Browne, whose clothes Michelle Obama has worn frequently. He added that they are "very simple shapes, with amazingly intricate workmanship." And they were not costumes: Each piece, Browne promised, could soon be found on the store rack.

Browne said Keaton was the perfect person to read the story he had created.

"She is SO my girl," he said.