Thom Browne’s fantastical visions of male dress is the perfect place to let fantasies bloom. And at Thom Browne’s Spring 2020 collection he fused masculine sportswear with 18th-century aristocratic garments. Browne riffed on gender by putting male models in stiletto heeled brogues while playing masculine sports wearing pannier skirts, headbands and codpieces for protection. “I’ve always used sports as a reference, and today, playing with the severity of 18th-century dress, and grounding it in sports, was a way to bring it into the men’s world.”
Ballet served as an introduction to Thom Browne’s menswear show with American Ballet Theatre’s James Whiteside performing in a seersucker blazer and matching tutu. His models stood on pedestals in 2-D trompe l’oeil renderings of the clothes they were actually wearing, accented by black and white brogue basketball “shoes.” Their outfits were soon revealed by attendants in shrunken jackets and short crinoline skirts accessorized with matching jockstraps. The collection showcased Browne’s sense of humor: the performative aspect of his shows and – more importantly – the clothes, and how Browne chooses to show his collections.
The models carried tennis ball-shaped bags, basketball bags, soccer ball bags, and football bags while wearing Thom Browne’s signature red, white and blue striped sweatband. Other elements borrowed from football players included wide panniers frames worn on the shoulder, sometimes embellished with pale pink flowers, seersucker jockstraps, and pannier-like versions of their helmets. Similarly, pannier skirts (wide rigid framed skirts) featuring balls attached to the hip were shown with a blazer, vest, and tie combo, some with running shorts underneath. One model wore a skirt overlaid with a pleated red fabric patterned with the Thom Browne logo, and topped with a yellow quilted jacket and dainty parasol.