Thom Browne RTW Fall 2023 NY

Thom Browne Men’s RTW Fall 2023 New York

The magnificent runway interpretation of “The Little Prince” was a teachable moment from the new chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Shed on a sandy floor around a downed plane, with planets suspended overhead.

There was the pilot in an incredible white padded and corseted flight suit, the Little Prince with spiked blond hair, a gold bullion tweed dress and gray flannel tailoring with the brand’s (now legally protected) four stripes, and the six planetary bodies in artful intarsia dresses. 

The story about children seeing the world through unvarnished eyes better than adults felt like a teachable moment from the newly installed chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. His message to New York designers who might be feeling glum from the economic slowdown and retail squeeze? Don’t lose that childlike enthusiasm to create.

“We all know my ups and downs and challenges through the last 20 years, but I was always committed to making sure you saw something during fashion week, as hard as it was,” Browne said, putting on his chairman’s hat during a preview. “Like in 2009, when I couldn’t afford a venue, so I did it in my store. I called it my ‘going out of business show’ because I was basically going out of business. It takes that commitment. I feel for them and yes, the economy stinks. It stinks for all of us, but you still have to keep going.”

Browne’s platform for his chairman’s role so far has been to promote creativity first, then commercialism wll come.

“My shows are never about selling the clothes. They’re about the ideas that will then sell the clothes in the showroom,”

he said.

For his latest chapter, he reconnected to “The Little Prince” after returning to his alma mater Notre Dame and hearing a professor quote the book’s famous passage about “all men have stars but they’re not the same things for different people…you alone will have stars as no one else has them.” 

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“It’s really a story between adults and kids. And the adults really didn’t see the world and the kids were the ones who in their pure naive way saw the world. So the collection is broken down into two sections — the tailored adult section, which has very overexaggerated shoulders on coats and jackets with skirts and shorts and trousers, all done in these developed tweeds. And then how the kids see the world in a more interesting way, where we took a very serious adult pinstripe fabric and conceptualized looks in a very childlike way,” he explained.

Everywhere you looked there were magnificent touches, from the clock faces embedded in platform heels (“It is the time you have devoted to your rose that makes your rose so important,” the book says) to the stage direction for those planetary bodies to keep flexing their ancient-looking curling finger and toenails throughout the entire show.

The level of detail on the tailored looks was obsessive, per usual; the developed tweeds richly textured and silk jacquard corsets sculpted to perfection. The conceptual looks were walking assemblages of tartan, ties, shirt sleeves, shirt tails, striped rugbys, interior basting, pant legs, skirt pleats, bustles, bows, crinolines and embroideries — as if the whole Thom Browne universe exploded with a big bang.

Of course, there’s a time limit for how long the Little Prince is alive untl his fateful run in with a serpent, played by model Anna Cleveland in a fierce silver and black gown dragging sleeves along the ground like snakes.

It was a moment.

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And a production, likely the designer’s last in New York before he returns to showing in Paris. He left with a finale set to “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” which was a tear jerker.

Wearable clothes may be one of the biggest storylines here this week, but that’s not what’s going to bring the spotlight back to New York, at least not according to Browne. You have to put on a show.

  1. Killian smith

    Is there any factual evidence that people buy these designer clothes !♂️✈️

    • fashionablymale

      I like the approach of not selling what you showcase, runway to wardrobe limits designers not to take risks.

  2. The exaggerated shoulders look is getting old. Not much creativity.

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