This season’s designer Thom Browne schooled the fashion world with a collection that got top marks in the subjects of ornamentation, tailoring, craftsmanship, and creative thinking.
His rebellious students made their angst know by reworking school uniforms and accessories with beautiful couture-like customization. They punched the tops out of their straw boater hats so that their lightning rod straight braids could reach to the sky. They craftily elevated the idea of school room doodling to impressive intarsia treatments on school blazers and pleated skirts. And they even reworked their bags into the shape of a fish (schools of fish – get it?).
This collection was a lovely companion piece to Browne's Spring/Summer 2016 menswear show. Both lines turned to Asia for embellishment inspirations. Here, rich Japanese artwork came stitched across the clothing, moving seamlessly from a tailored jacket to a fitted vest and back out the other side. Those pleated skirts were also enriched with Far East motifs. Their organic designs – mountain tops, blooming flowers, cumulus clouds – looking precious and delicate against the structural rigor of the pleats. Even the footwear had soles that echoed those of a Geisha's geta sands.
This collection was almost like a Zen meditation, where the repetition of the same word or sound can bring inner peace. For Browne, it was the litany of a single silhouette, reworked and reimagined over and over again, that gave the designer his serenity.
So what if Browne's bliss it a bit macabre? What did it mean that a pair of men's feet protruded out from underneath the framework of the central one room school house anyway?
In the end, the only thing anyone will remember about this show were those masterfully executed school uniforms. No one needs to teach Browne a thing.