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Thom Browne Fall 2022 – Fashionista

It’s so nice to be invited into Thom Browne’s world that most of us in the fashion industry would do anything to be there – including, as was the case on Friday, making the trek to the Javits Center in New York (all the way in the west side! the horror!) – and do it with a smile on our face. That’s because Browne always makes the journey worthwhile: Whether it’s an enchanted garden, a dream of Versailles fever, or his take on Noah’s Ark, Browne is the king who turns fashion into theater.

Before fall 2022, Browne’s world was a room of exactly 500 teddy bears, which just about every audience member hoped would be up for grabs after the show (no luck unfortunately), sitting in wooden chairs lined up in precise rows. Next, we were introduced to the “chair bear”—that would, of course, be the teddy bear’s top hat model—who would lead the process from his perch at the top of the stage. It was to be, as Browne’s show notes indicated, his “teddy talk.”

First came a parade of Browne’s “favorite New Yorkers,” 25 looks packed with Browne signatures. Lots of gray suits with trims and panels in bright, collegiate colors; pied-de-poule and plaid pleated kilts, revealing mismatched striped interiors; chunky cable knit jumpers with Browne’s tricolor stripes at the neck and sleeves. While these fall looks are layered to the extreme, they’re relatively tame for a Browne show. Everything is inherently portable, especially when broken down into individual pieces.

But then, we were told, it was time to meet the toys: 25 looks that serve as funhouse mirror versions of the 25 that came before it. Shapes are extreme and distorted, with hoop skirts or misshapen protuberances. (In some of the latter, it’s hard not to compare to Comme des Garçons, especially the famous “humps and bumps” collection.) They play with some of the most classic preppy motifs, such as lobsters that grow to gigantic sizes blown and blazers stitched haphazardly together. The accessories really stand out: Hector bags with the tail that drags on the end of a slinky spool, shoes on wooden block platforms, briefcases with handles at the top of teddy bear fur.

At the end, all the models came out, New Yorkers combined with their toy selves, where they finally met. The toy selves, according to the voiceover, are the true selves, the inner selves, of the New Yorkers. “A lifelong quest…a lifetime of questions…asking and seeking…questions at last…and fully answered…”, according to the shownotes.

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I mean no disrespect to Browne or the fantastic collection he presented, but the real highlight of the show came in the finale. As the models started walking backstage, Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This” kicked off and the chair bear went on to perform a barn-burning lip syncing gig for the public (both humans and teddy bear).

Towards the end, when the chair bear dragged a laughing Browne for his bow, even the typically stoic fashion set started howling and screaming. It was arguably the greatest runway finale of all time.

Check out the entire Thom Browne Fall 2022 collection in the gallery below:

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