Thom Browne: Flowers, Flowers, Everywhere
Flowers on a marble gravestone. Flowers growing out of handbags. Flowers printed on severely tailored coats. Women as flowers.
Thom Browne’s unsettling story of a band of sisters walking around a cemetery embodied the designer’s signature dalliances with sensuality, decadence and death.
A woman’s voice – the kind that reads fairy tales on children’s TV – told the story of six sisters and their week-long fashion predilections, who then cosy up together at home each Friday night.
Anything that the designer does has an undercurrent of discomfort. Who are these sisters, so smartly dressed in their crayon colours, with tubular hats to match their tailored coats? Are they from the same family as the women in streamlined grey trouser suits?
I started to dissect each vision, wondering what could be a suitable outfit for Michelle Obama, a favourite client. The dogtooth check coat with flower inserts in 50 shades of grey? Surely not the primary-coloured triangle of pleats – too bold and bright for a First Lady. Nor the coat with a floral garden on the back made of coloured feathers. But “yes” to a could-be Chanel – a cream cabled cotton suit trimmed with red and blue.
The purpose of the Thom Browne show remained an enigma. What was the point of the set of headstones topped by women dressed for sport, but with their legs plastered like marble? Were the clothes meant as a fetishistic take on open flowers?
Sometimes designers can be too complex for their own good. Yet I knew that under the veil of weirdness, there were elegant clothes for normal women. Especially those who love flowers.