Thom Browne’s whimsical runway shows have included everything from dark fairytales to stuck-at-work stress dreams to back-in-school time loops, and now an Alice in Wonderland set filled with Candyland Queens. For Spring 2020, Browne crafted a confectionary daydream set in a secret garden that was simply mind-blowing, every detail from each petal, feather, and splash was rendered entirely in fabric! Browne even went so far as to create a tinkling water fountain and flocks of birds meticulously, all sculpted from seersucker. His immense skills were on full display playful as tailoring fabrics were transformed into gauzy confectionary frocks using transparent organza with candy stripes, and wool boucle woven from pastel bias cut strips that left were fluttering at the hem. Despite the extravagant 18th century inspired jackets, and layering of panniers over bloomers, and waist snatchers, this collection was also magically light. Thanks in part to Brown’s ingenious engineering which created a floating effect using garters, cages, and strategic cuts to kept each layer as light as air and swaying loosely as the models walked.
The Marie Antoinette theme was turned up to full volume with layers of luxurious fabrics rendered into extreme silhouettes, mile high hairdos, and the daintiest of pastel pointy toe shoes. However, despite the abundance of full blown corsetry, not one bosom was ever in danger of popping out. Instead, each model wore some version of a shirt, jacket and tie, though a few were of the trompe l’oeil variety, others featured sheer organza seersucker shirts with an off-the-shoulder corset jacket. Altogether the collection was a magnificent theatrical display of imagination, too extreme for real life, but lovely nonetheless. However, if you take apart the many multi-faceted looks in the collection there were many inspiring take aways. For example, a short sleeve peplum jacket with off-the-shoulder lapels was charming and totally modern as a tantalizing shrug over a cocktail dress, or evening wear. Always one to push the limits of what traditional tailoring can do, Browne’s coveted knife pleat skirts were given translucent inner panels this season for a daring effect, while the visible outer layer depicted scenes like cloudy skies or ships on the sea. Each piece, including the pleated knife skirts are a perfect layering piece to wear this spring over a biker short for modesty, or on its own for the more daring.