Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Finding one’s authentic self

AP – The 500 audience members were sitting in neat rows, and they’d definitely gotten the memo on attire: All were perfectly dressed in a classic grey Thom Browne suit.

They were very quiet, too, perhaps because they knew Browne’s show was a special occasion, held in New York rather than Paris where he usually stages shows. But also probably because they were stuffed animals. To be precise, these were teddy bears, lined in tiny chairs to hear a motivational ‘Teddy Talk’.

It was yet another Browne extravaganza, more a slice of theatre or performance art than a runway show, this time with an unusually playful vibe. In his narrated script, Browne – a consummate showman who is also one of America’s most successful designers – sought to educate the crowd of bears and humans (in bigger chairs) about finding one’s authentic self.

In this case, Browne was saying, we all have a “toy version” that’s more exaggerated and crazier, but one that’s worth connecting with.

How did this high concept connect to fashion? That’s a question that Browne answers, luckily, with ensembles that are small feats of creative engineering. Here, his toy-store theme extended from countless versions of his classic grey suit, trimmed and pleated in brightly coloured silks, to his whimsical handbags and footwear, like the alphabet-block purses and platform shoes, or the ‘Hector’ handbags, inspired by his own dog, extended to toy ponies and other nursery creatures.

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