Thom Browne Spring 2013 Collection

Posted on September 18, 2012


We walked out of this show breathless. Outside the venue, chatting away excitedly about what we just saw, we realized pictures were never going to do it justice. “Can’t we just post the pictures, write, ‘IT’S FUCKING ART, OKAY?’ under them and call it a day?” we asked.

But we’ll try and do better. Inspired by Bauhaus artist Oskar Schlemmer and his Triadisches Ballet, Thom Browne put on a show, in every sense of the world. Puppet-like men in turbans and and music-box ballerinas provided the backdrop as one jaw-dropping look after another slowly walked out. Each model was placed on a hypno-wheel and then slowly spun around by one of the turban’d puppet men. At the end, an entire army of Bauhaus-by-way-of-the-Emerald-City looks stood and faced us, their faces pale and blank, their movements both robotic and balletic. Part horror show, part fairy tale, part performance art, this show and its collection of highly unusual looks was our highlight of the week.



[Photo Credit: GoRunway]

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  • Anathema_Device

    Wow. That really is cool. I think it translates well to pictures. There are pieces, proportions, and colors than will translate into “real” clothes. I like when runway shows totally commit to theme and look.

    ETA: That white laser-cut piece is a knock out, and I love all the plaids.

    • MissAnnieRN

      I totally agree about the White/black laser cut piece.  It’s stunning.  How does a collection like this translate to RTW?  Or does it just wait for Lady Gaga to buy it?

      • Anathema_Device

        I think many of these individual pieces can be worn with more conventional pieces, and certainly the big dresses can be toned down or worn by a woman with the ovaries to pull it off (Gaga, Swinton, et al). But that’s my lame armchair analysis. I’m sure more knowledgeable BKs would have a more informed take on how to transition these pieces to RTW.

        • SewingSiren

          This is RTW. But individual department stores won’t order the whole collection. Stores like Barney’s will place small orders for some of the more conventional pieces. Thom Browne has his own store too, you might see part of the collection there. But I think he makes most of his money on menswear. He has a more conventional line with Brooks Brothers

          • Anathema_Device

            Thanks. I’ve seen his Brooks Brothers stuff. It is very nice.

        • I’d kill to see Cate Blanchett wearing that third row, center dress. It’s so fabulous that I would hate to see it toned down for some starlet.

          • StrandedFashionista

            Now that you mention it, I agree! She’d look amazing in it.

      • There are a lot of pieces, that could be taken out of the line and worn just as is. In particular, a lot of the jackets and tops are perfectly fine for normal wear. The other pieces, could, with proportional alterations be made to work, as well. Only the most outré pieces, like the one with the suspended hoops around the shoulder line, are too conceptual for real world wear.

        • MissAnnieRN

          That’s true – I didn’t see it before really until you both made that observation.  But upon a second viewing you can begin to pull some of these pieces out on their own.  But I like them so much better paired the way they are as Art!  I almost vomited when I thought of a preppy little WASPy socialite running around with the pink blazer with the white whales on it….

    • Amen, Sistah!
      I love this collection. When garmenture manages to exceed the limits of clothing the body, and creates new ways of seeIng, I get all goofy inside with joy.

      • Anathema_Device

         I have a bigger issue with designers who slap bizarre makeup on models wearing super conventional clothing in an effort to make the look “edgy.” Not that I have an issue with conventional clothing or edgy makeup, but I prefer to see a designer go all out conceptualizing the presentation and the designs.

        • Couldn’t agree more, Anathema. Go the whole way if you are going to ride a concept.

        • ballerinawithagun

          I so agree. That is one of the reasons Cathy Horyn(sp?) slammed Oscar de la Renta’s very pretty spring collection.

  • This looks like so much fun! I envy you the experience! I am totally strobing on the tights! And the fruit stripe gum farthingale (Row 6, first model) makes me want to have one for work!

    • MissAnnieRN

      Farthingale!  I haven’t heard that word used since the last game of Balderdash I played.  YES.

  • mmc2315

    I’m a sucker for black and white plaids, and those immediately pulled me in!

  • Eva_baby

    This is what I imagine characters in a Steampunk novel may wear.  Very striking.

  • Elias Pineda

    this might be out of context but are planing to review viktor lunas collection? haha

  • VicksieDo

    Now that defines “avante garde” – really interesting.  I love the middle look with the big big collar, next to last row. Also, the middle look on the third row with the crazy plaid dress.  Gaga will be wearing all of this!

  • Judy_J

    Futuristic and fanciful!  I love the mix of colors and patterns shown in the 4th and 5th row of photos.

  • Scimommy

    If I were a ladystar, I would try my darnest to rock the middle dress from the third row. If.

    • Kristin McNamara

      That was the one that jumped out to me too!!! The structure of that one (and how it makes you think, “How the eff are all those things staying where they are?”) is mind-boggling. In an AWESOME way! Beautiful.

  • The dress in the very top picture reminds me of Scarlett O’Hara’s hat that she wore to the barbecue.  Well, it’s between that and Eliza Doolittle’s hat in My Fair Lady.

  • SewingSiren

    This is my favorite collection yet. Some of it is pure theater, but there are some very wearable pieces, particularly the black and white lace items. I love the dress in row 7 on the far right. I looks like laser cut lace , and the lace suit right on top of it. I’m also a sucker for striped tights. and goofy hair hats.

  • IAmJ

    This is truly unbelievably beautiful and cool. The show must have been an amazing experience.

  • This is nothing short of amazing! It’s all very “Munchkinland meets Wonderland meets Abstract Couture” – and I mean all that in a good way. It’s really mesmerizing!

  • mjude

    wish i could have been there to see it live.  gorgeous

  • Tatiana Luján

    THAT’S innovation!

  • siriuslover

    These are freaky cool, I must say.  But is that a stain on the skirt in the middle on the second row?

    • Wendi126

      At first glance I thought a stain as well however it matches the collar color and seems purposeful. But it’s placement on the dress makes it seems like avante garde menstrual leakage

      • Kristin McNamara

        Maybe so, but yellow/green avante garde menstrual leakage though? (haha ew this just got too gross…..)

    • Kristin McNamara

      I saw (and wondered) that too.

  • alyce1213

    Gorgeous — I’m in love with the black-grey-white and colorful plaids. 
    The shapes remind me of early 20th C fashion (prior to ’20s flappers).
    Okay, so I don’t understand why the model with the long dress in the 6th row has her face wrapped up, but it really doesn’t matter.
    This is great fun, very well done.

  • EEKstl

    Really beautiful.  And the pieces themselves are mostly very wearable to the average person (who has zillions to spend on clothes that is), and the rest are scaleable.  I love the innovation.

  • An interesting “event”….but I would guess at most “MAYBE” 5 per cent of this collection will ever see daylight on a sales floor at Barney’s or anywhere else…

  • Wow, I wished I was there.  Sounds incredible.

  • ballerinawithagun

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Fabulous! My heart and mind belong to the pastel evening gown in the middle. I produce Artwear and we do shows along this line all the time. The “fashion” world usually doesn’t like to pay attention to us. And yes, if you just wear it one piece at a time, instead of the whole ensemble, they can be worn in public without going all “Gaga”!

  • Middle dress, sixth row. I would die a happy woman if that were to show up on the red carpet.

    •  Me too, I could see someone like Helena Bonham Carter cutting down gawkers right and left in that dress.  She has the fashion qualifications to pull that off.

  • Plaids, stripes, prints and shape and color all together. So much fun. Incredible balance.

  • Bozhi

    Very unusual and pretty.  Lady Gaga has a new wardrobe I see.  Actually, some of the separates are quite wearable.  Some of the outerwear could have been designed by Elena.

  • workinit

    Love this body of work. I immediately thought of Helen Bonham Carter in several of the pieces.

  • TomBord

    Project Runway w/ a larger budget.  

  • ChiKat67

    Cracktastically fabulous!  Thanks TLo for bringing so much fun and pretty and downright stunning to my very hung over morning.  

  • ojosazules

    It is extremely interesting to look at, very creative, but it doesn’t work for me. The knit on the first dress looks blown out around her thighs, which is unfortunate. 

  • marilyn

    If this is art, we’re all in trouble.   It is a very odd collection of clothing with unmatched prints, tied together with everyone wearing little bubble hats and headbands.  Art, it’s not.


      In what way is it not art? Is it not a visual expression of one’s creativity and view through skilled and imaginative means? Am I missing something here?

    • Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s not art. And just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean “we’re all in trouble” because other people do. How obnoxious.

  • At first I went “Tim Burton went to whoville and put on a fashion show!” but on second look there are a lot of pieces that could work in real life, just mixed with more normal stuff and toned down a bit.

  • I love the jackets, all very wearable. LOVE the white coat with what I think are multicolored seahorses embroidered on it.  The rest of it needs some real world alterations.  But that gown with the flowers on it? Totally Seussian, it looks like something that Cindy Lou Who would wear at her wedding. Which is awesome, and makes me love it.

    • formerlyAnon

       Yes, I totally thought of it as Seussian. Though if I had a ton of money and attended functions which required a high impact one-wearing-only dress (oh, and were a bit younger and probably taller) I would RUN to order one. (Well, if one can sit down in it.) It is pretty and totally fun and high impact but not garish.

  • formerlyAnon

    I love some of the curvy shapes and the grey/white prints edged with black.

    Having a hard time with some of the more colorful pieces, when I mentally mix them into a real wardrobe my mind goes to the colors and cuts of 80s preppy. I do admire the coat over dress to the right in the 5th row down. I think I’m going to see what (if anything) the hipster waifs do with the colorful pieces.

  • VioletFem

    I can’t explain why, but I actually kind of like this collection, especially the long “curvy” dresses. I really wish I could have seen this show in person.

    • PinkLemon

       Yeah, i was expecting everyone to hate this stuff. there’s something very…familiar about it. the prints are nostalgically child-like, and the shapes and fabric interplay are just…really aesthetically pleasing. hard to explain. LOVED this tho.

      • VioletFem

        Child-like. That is a very good way to describe the playfulness in this collection. Some of the dresses look like something straight out of Dr. Seuss.

        • PinkLemon

          Yeah, my first reaction was ‘toys from the 80’s’ with those colorful plaids. And the way the fabric is put together seems like something a kid designer would instinctively do.

  • Jennifer Coleman

    This is fantastic. Thanks for featuring it. I wish I could’ve seen it live.

  • Karen Dickerson

    Sweet Jesus, I NEED that seahorse coat. 

  • SpcilK

    This  line has Helena Bonham Carter written all over it.

    • baxterbaby

      THAT is who I thought of immediately!  Come on HBC, take a break from Westwood and get yourself into #8 for your next big red carpet (“Great Expectations”?)  You owe it to yourself and the world.

      I’m sure you already own the tights and the shoes.

  • PeggyOC

    Paging Lada Gaga.  Your shipment has arrived.

  • zelavie

    Amazing!  The multi-dimensional grey & yellow plaid (3rd row, middle) is absolutely my favorite.

  • MilaXX

    I LIKE! I would have paid good money to see this show.
    I will personally send a muffin basket to the first lady star not named Gaga, Nicki, Katy or Bjork  who wears a piece of this and makes it look elegant*. I realize most won’t work but I think there are a few pieces that can be paired with traditional pieces and work on the RC.

    *not really, I’m broke.

  • Zippypie

    Wow, an actual show instead of a parade of garments.  Awesome!

    Love the plaids, the structure, the color and pattern mixing.  It’ll be cool to see some of these ideas translated into wearable garments but with an actual “show” you  get to imagine, which is fun!

  • planet of the marshmallow heads!  fascinating sci-fi madness.

  • michelle shields

    Crazy! Bravo!

  • LesYeuxHiboux

    Gorgeous plaids and incredible structures! I love the dress in the middle of the third row, and that green and blue plaid suit under the rainbow-striped hoops. Truly a show in every sense of the word, I wish I could have seen it live. Love the foil-suited turbaned men looking like backup dancers on The Great Gazoo Variety Hour.

    • formerlyAnon

      Yay! Shout out to The Great Gazoo!

  • Monabel

    I want the striped stockings.

  • Synnamin

    Is there a video somewhere?

  • quiltrx

    Love the fabrics, and there are a lot of fascinating shapes here.  I’m picturing HBC in the ‘lampshade’ skirt in the third row!


    Incredible. That’s all.

  • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

    OMG.  It’s like watching the British Top Gear and seeing a bunch of really really cool concept cars.  You know you won’t be driving that particular car, but the elements that will trickle down are going to be quite fun to wear.

  • ccm800

    WOW! very authentic inspiration reference. 3rd row middle and the like are my faves. 

  • LinXGUA