Fashion designer Thom Browne walks into his office, trailed by his wire-haired dachshund, Hector – who, like everyone else on the premises, is clad in Thom Browne apparel (in this case, a tidy red sweater, not a suit). Mid-century furnishings have been placed with great intention throughout the space. As the staffers come and go, one gets the sensation of having been admitted to a benevolent cult, comprised of eager, immaculately-groomed, Ivy-league prepsters — with a surrealist twist.
One of the central curiosities about the entire Thom Browne enterprise: it is paradoxically restrictive and unbridled at the same time — a massive, seasonal exercise in restraint and release. If Browne’s headquarters represents the zany yet buttoned-up restraint of his operation, his fashion shows exude its fantastical release. Going from the Thom Browne studio to a Thom Browne presentation feels akin to teasing open an elegant clock and watching the springs explode out. The show scenarios vary wildly: one season, there was a nightmarish circus set, complete with models bound as mummies or sent down the runway adjoined in a Siamese twin suit; another presentation mimicked an elaborate, ghoulish funeral. At yet another show, models relentlessly hammered away at a wooden house frame for the duration of the show.
Read more about Mr. Browne’s stylishly peculiar world here, in Ms. Blume’s profile of the designer.