Mad as a Hatter: Thom Browne in Paris 2011


Browne embraces the Hatter’s aesthetic in Paris 2011.  Spectacle and absurdity mix to create a dadaesque dream world.  Equal parts elegance, nonsense and craftsmanship, Browne’s Fall/Winter 2011 line continues to push the boundaries of menswear far beyond the borders of wearability.  Browne seems comfortable in this no-man’s-land, teetering on the edge of costume, crafting an immersive environment that recalls Andre Breton, Andre Gregory and Tim Burton more than Armani.  But, beneath all the pomp-and-circumstance lies a collection anchored by Browne’s twin pillars of tailoring and materials.  Browne’s Spring/Summer line was reserved by comparison, focusing on a single jacket done is forty fabrics that he, himself, developed for the collection.  It appears that Browne has bucked the current trend of minimalism to create a collection of strange, over-the-top whimsicality: top hats, tails, capes, argyle knickerbockers, in reds, blues, greys, blacks and creamy winter whites.

The question, of course, is how will this fantasy translate into the reality of the street?  Browne would never be seen in most of his own creations, his shrunken grey on grey uniform never fluctuates more than the occasional short-pant or colorful under vest, but Browne’s vision exceeds his famous personal style.  Like Alexander McQueen in his heyday, Browne gives us art, spectacle and theater.  He reminds us that fashion is not just about practicality and commerce.  Fashion, at its best, creates its own world; a world populated with extraordinary creatures that leave us scratching our heads in wonder.  A world we may not want to live in, but one we need and love to visit.  Every once in awhile we all need to fall down the rabbit hole.


“Why is a raven like a writing desk?”  -The Hatter

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


Categories: Suiting

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