Thom Browne Fall 2013 Collection

Posted on February 21, 2013

Mr. Browne knows the value of theatricality, both in clothing and in how that clothing is presented to the public as a collection. Male models were blindfolded and bound with red ribbons to minimalist bedframes, as female models silently and slowly walked around them, caressing them with red roses.

Bitches, it doesn’t get more theatrical than that.

But let’s look past the show and at the clothes. Guess what? Still highly theatrical. Still oddly and hauntingly beautiful, evoking everything from Kabuki, to the Queen of Hearts and even a single red rose, in gown form, with Edwardian touches. It’s all romantic and stylized, which may be why it takes a moment for the impeccable craftsmanship to be noticed. We especially like the tailored jackets and dresses made out of men’s tie materials, just like the Thom Browne coat Michelle Obama wore recently during the inauguration. An eerily gorgeous and memorable show as well as collection.



[Photo Credit: Getty – Video Credit: VideoFashion via]

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  • hughman

    Someone’s gotta say it so I will : 

    Carol Burnett, “Gone With The Wind” sketch. Boom. 

    •  Indeed.  That is maybe the funniest moment on that show.

    • MK03

      Damn it, you beat me to it.

    • MoHub

      That’s actually Went With the Wind, and I have the Barbie to prove it.

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Ah saw it in the window and Ah just had to have it!

  • oatmealpie

    Well, now we know what Helena Bonham-Carter will be wearing for the foreseeable future.

    • alice20c

      Yeah, it looks like she was the muse, and will be the patron. It’s like a arch-gothic feedback loop.

    • fashionzombie

      Exactly what I was thinking as I scrolled through. It would suit the hell out of her. 

      (Meaning: Helena Bonham-Carter, if disqus misplaces this.)

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        Ms. HBC was the first person I thought of when I started playing “which celeb could wear this collection”.

        I’m curious-how does the designer adapt these very theatrical runway looks for real clients?

    • Beardslee

       I thought of her too!  She can carry a lot of these looks.

      • dress_up_doll

        “Carry,” being the operative word.

        • mike__tv

          Lol, or the weight of them will flatten her into a perverse burtonesque pancake. 

    • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

      Yep, this has HBC stamped all over it.

    • She’s mad that Thom Browne didn’t launch this collection when she was poledancing for the “Alice in Wonderland” movie, though.

    • Lily-Rygh

       Took the words right out of my mouth.  Especially the look with the red jacket and the red and gray tattered skirt.  That, with her trademark Crazyhair?  Yep.

    • Squarah

      Clearly, our minds all went to the same place. I immediately thought of her as well.

    •  I was thinking Bjork…

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        I think one of these would have to be worked into the shape of a dying swan draped in red roses for Bjork.

    • Verascity

       I literally only scrolled down to see if anyone had beaten me to this exact comment.

  • gabbilevy

    Oooh… I’ll be really excited to see some of this stuff when it’s been toned down to “mortals can actually wear this” level.

    • poggi

       Yes, I would like to see versions of some of the coats.  While I am thoroughly sick of coats I could probably bring myself to consider adding the double breasted plaid and grey coat with the black embroidery on the waist and hip to my closet.

    • Derek_anny

       Exactly.  All I could think was “What woman would wear that? What woman wants to make her hips wider?”

      • I always find that to be such a silly and culturally narrow question. These are very exaggerated, of course, but setting that aside there are many (non-white, non-american, especially) cultures that prize what americans would dismiss as a “fuller” (read: not boyish) figure. But even setting that aside for a moment, any woman with narrow hips or with a very straight figure trying to create the illusion of an hourglass figure might want extra volume on her hips. Or someone with an inverted triangle figure might want something that balances her out on the bottom, which would require (gasp) something that makes her hips look wider.

        • Corsetmaker

          It’s also a very historically narrow perspective. Silhouettes have gone in and out throughout the history of fashion. Why not again!

        • Derek_anny

          In retrospect, I realize I didn’t actually type the “Michael Kors saying” part of that thought. I was hearing a reference to PR judging and didn’t communicate that clearly. I agree with you completely.

        • Yep, there are many African American girls who feel rather down for having the smallest hips in the crowd. Some of their workout plans are to actually GAIN hips. 

  • Funkykatt

    But who’s going to wear it? I mean, really?

    • schadenfreudelicious

      David Byrne?…..

      • YoungSally


  • Funkykatt

    I just added who is going to wear it while your post was posting. Thank you for my answer!

    • Funkykatt

      Oh heck I meant this for you, Oatmealpie

  • ccinnc

    Bloody Alice in Wonderland.

  • DinaSews

    I want to get my hands on that red dress so I can see how it’s made. Love it.  This really must have been stunning in person. The blacks and greys with the red accents. Almost feels surreal.

    • l_c_ann

      Any guesses what the underpinnings for the shoulders are?  Metal frames perhaps, or at least boned to death or maybe carbon fibre?

      • DinaSews

        Some look soft enough to possibly be foam rubber, like on the red dress.  I think a covered metal frame would be needed, though, for the severly squared and pronounced shoulder.

        • SewingSiren

          I’ll bet he his using mens wear  tailoring techniques to build the shoulder. All the fabrics look to have a fairly firm hand and I bet they have multiple layers of buckram interfacing , plus 1980’s level molded foam shoulder pads. I would be surprised if there were a “trick” like a metal frame, because they look like “real” garments. Very very high quality.

          • DinaSews

            I wouldn’t doubt that he is using some menswear tailoring techniques but, having tailored a men’s suit when I went to fashion design school, I can’t see how multiple layers of buckram interfacing would give you that look.  We used buckram in the shoulders and lapels and my fingers are still tender from all the hand stitches it took to secure it.  But buckram is sturdy while still being soft. I think the weight of the garment would pull the shoulders down somewhat.

          • SewingSiren

            No, not the multiply layers of buckram alone, but PLUS the molded foam shoulder pads that were used in women’s suit jackets in the 1980’s. Do you know the ones I’m talking about? They were big and white and looked like polar bear caves. 
            To this day a very skilled tailor can build out the men’s jacket shoulder very far without use of a frame work. The technique is usually used for over weight men.

          • l_c_ann

            I’ve even considered whale bone (that made this sort of thing possible centuries ago) and the thing is…these look heavy, even if they are only two layers of real wool. I even wondered if it could be a combination of horsehair crossgrains coupled with some of the really stiff canvas that used to be used for classic sails.  

            Yes, seeing the how to would be really interesting….

          • Corsetmaker

            I agree. I reckon canvas, wool felt, bit of padding. I really don’t think there will be any shortcuts. Likewise on the hips of the fuller skirts. This is one of those collections where I itch to be able to see the undersides and the guts!

      • MK03

        Curtain rods.

  • Imasewsure

    Too Kabuki for me although the fabrics are gorgeous.. and the last model in the red is one of my all time favorites. She is stunning!!

    • dress_up_doll

      Speaking of Kabuki, I’m really getting more of a Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garcons vibe from this collection. Both are strangely beautiful.

      •  It’s all teed up for Vogue Korea.  I’m pretty sure 8th row far right (filmy, yet structured white dress with red embellishments and hair accessories) was styled just for them.  And I can SO see the white tights with roses as their special VK brand of gorgeous…

  • StellaZafella

    Dramatic costuming…outrageous for somebody’s drag closet.
    Just not my taste in fashion, even though I LOVE me a shoulder pad.

    I get the Kabuki influence…I just don’t get… why?

  • I’m picturing the staging area where they drizzled paint all over the shoes and then they had to dry it in a hurry.  They do look pretty freakin’ amazing.  Too bad Swinton wasn’t around to help model the outfits.

  • MzzPants

    HBC shoulda’ walked for this one.  Bet she’s on the phone right now.

  • Love it! Filling in the gap left by John Galliano’s departure

  • Love all the clothes but the fact that every single one of them is holding the same roses the same way is DISTRACTING. 

  • Holy Hell!  That last piece is an absolute tour de force of dressmaking skill.
    I love his avant garde perceptions.  

  • Corsetmaker

    Oh I love this so much! I’m not so keen on the very square pieces but in places he out-Diors Dior!

  • zenobar

    Batshit cray and I LOVE IT.

  • another_laura

    So very over the tippy tippy top but I love it!

  • minnye

    I just love the polka dot pannier’d dress & jacket in the large photo. What kind of music did they use?

  • Phenomenal artistry on display–and a reminder to the PR judges that great fashion does not equal form-fitting and figure-flattering. Unusual shapes and haunting silhouettes are an important part of fashion, and here we see them in their most delicious forms. For me, this is pure, wonderful eye candy. 

  • tallgirl1204

    I want those tights.

  • kirkyo

     I’ve been staring at these photos for 20 minutes.

    • Sara__B

      Me, too. I found a snippet of the runway show, where the models meander slowly through a dreamscape. It’s extraordinary.

      • Video added, Sarah : )

        • SewingSiren

          Thank you. I sure do hope that you were able to see this one in person.

          • Yes, we were invited, Sewing Siren. We wanted to touch every garment as the models walked by us. : )

          • Corsetmaker

            The fabrics look just beautiful!

          • Lattis

            I like to think if you had touched the garments that the models would have stroked your faces gently with a red rose.

            maybe I’m getting into a weird area 

          • SewingSiren

            I did the gay gasp when I read that, because I thought it said you DID touch every garment as it went by! I would have, and then been unceremoniously  shown the door.

        • Sara__B

           Oh! Thank you! A million times!

        • mmc2315

          Thank you for posting the video.  It was lovely to watch!  I want to reach out and touch the material on the garments as well.  I am a sucker for plaid and houndstooth.

    • Lattis

      Curse you TLo & Thom. I have gobs of work to do and I am like kirkyo . . . hypnotized!

  • mjude

    i really love this

  • Sara__B

    Hauntingly beautiful — and utterly unwearable, except perhaps by PhD level fashionistas like Diane Kruger. So I went in search of reviews of this collection. Vogue online helped me with this: “And while the coup” (having Michelle Obama wear one of his coats at the recent Inauguration) “has helped pushed (sic) his name forward into the mainstream, Browne hasn’t revealed any plans to dilute his conceptual designs for a wider audience.”

  • BrooklynBomber


  • SewingSiren

    OOOoo, Mommy wants white stockings with 3-D red roses embroidered on them……

    ……………………………..and maybe a birds nest hat too. I’m not kidding.

  • Le_Sigh

    Eeee! That last shot of Alec Wek is divoine!  I don’t know who other than HBC could pull any of these off on the RC, but I sure as hell would love to own a few of these pieces and swan around Manhattan just for the hell of it!

  • Tatiana Luján

    My god, some of theese are just breathtaking (and the last model is gorgeous).

  • margaret meyers

    More 1940s shapes and rich, heavy fabrics with lots of volume. 

  • MilaXX

    Love Thom Browne & kudos to Michelle Obama or her team for looking at this collection and figuring out a way to make it wearable.

  • Helena Bonham Carter, your wardrobe has arrived.

  • afabulous50

    All I can think of when I see the coats/capes is The Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense, when DB wears that gigantic suit jacket!

  • alyce1213

    Jawdroppingly gorgeous. The plaids are powerful, the prints dream-like.  This is a real feast for the eyes! 

  • ankali

    Like everyone else, I thought of HBC, but I think Gaga will love this stuff, too.

    • Snailstsichr

       Good call! Gaga has gotten a little boring lately and it would be fun to see her twist on one of these outfits.

  • This is very interesting clothing.
    I wonder WHO will wear the square tops?
    I especially love the last two enlarged photos.

  • ojosazules


  • Edith’s Head

    Can someone get this guy to do the costumes for the next hunger games movie?  Because this is exactly what I picutred the capitol citizens to look like.

    • Sara__B

       Yes! The movie’s costuming was so disappointing, and this collection is over-the-top. Just like the Capitol!

  • TSkot

    wish he’d do a show of the scaled-down wearable versions; might be something to like

  • bertkeeter

    NONE of this will EVER make it to retail…so whats the point in even reviewing it?

    • SewingSiren

      More the reason to enjoy it virtually.

      • bertkeeter

        Empress’s old clothes !

    •  Haute Couture collections don’t make it to retail, either. Nor do Project Runway collections, for that matter.

      • bertkeeter

        HAUTE MY ASS!

    • Cranky much?

      Fashion design, like any art form, it not always marketable, cheap, or created to be consumed by the masses. Yet great talents continue to great beautiful things into which they pour their passions. Few of these pieces would be worn as is by most women–but why shouldn’t that be ok? The music I compose isn’t meant for the radio, and the literature I study will never appear in a Wal-Mart, or perused on beaches by those looking for breezy reads. 

      I’m ok with that. That doesn’t mean that that music and literature have no value, purpose, beauty, of influence. The music in today’s concert halls was composed and influenced by men and women who shied away from creations that were commercial and easily understood. Paintings hang in galleries that few of us would display in our homes, yet they stimulate the mind and the heart. 

      Perhaps this collection will translate into wearable retail pieces. Perhaps not. But that doesn’t make it meaningless. We don’t remove collections like this from the discussion because they don’t meet the “Bert Keeter Seal of Commercial Viability.” In fact, collections like this are more interesting to talk about and evaluate than most because they have a clear points of view and challenge our ideas about beauty and fashion.

      It’s unfortunate that not only were you not up to that challenge, but would question the value of it entirely. 

      • bertkeeter

        Blah blah blah…

      • Corsetmaker

        Well said. Catwalk shows should push the boundaries of wearability because it will be diluted by the time it makes the streets. It should be influential and it should be appreciated as an artform. If that’s too much for some then that’s down to them, perhaps they need to look harder.

        I do disagree with a lot of the comments here about the wearability of this collection because, like many, if you take away the showmanship and edit the more exaggerated pieces you’re left with a beautifully tailored whole.

        It is more like a collection for Paris or London though. I tend to skim through the NYFW collections as many are too conservative to excite me. Perhaps it’s a little out of context among the Karans and Kors.

  • Deb Oswald


  • patticake1601

    Gorgeous!!!  I want those tights!!

  • Vickiefantastico

    His work always looks more like art than fashion to me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I love it.

  • A fine fantasy.

  • Indigo54

    Brings tears to my eyes.  He’s a freakin’ genius!

  • Corsetmaker

    I totally disagree on the unwearability comments. I’d happily, in fact eagerly wear a lot of these (given a few monetary pounds gained and a few weight pounds lost) either as they are or with some minor changes such as losing a top coat. 

  • stubbornthoughts

    I wish I was there, I love me some quirky theatrics! This is artsy, clever, and unwearable. LOVE IT.

  • e jerry powell

    I can’t tell from how they have her painted; is the black girl Ajuma Nasenyana? I know Ajuma’s walked Thom Browne before, but I don’t know if she’s made it to muse status at that house.

  • frannyprof

    Helena. Bonham. Carter.

  • formerlyAnon

    Beautifully striking. Wonder how it will translate to clothing that will actually be worn off the runway.

  • Lattis

    I love how those full skirts move – like the ones (mauve and black) in the second row up from the finale piece. Just love them. I’d wear them or some version of them in a heartbeat. 

    Also – in my secret heart – I would love to wear this Marie Antoinette/Marge Simpson hair. 

  • Romulan.  It’s what the rich bitches on the planet Romulus would wear.  How can people be so oblivious to pop Culture?  Really fashionistas you gotta watch TV sometimes.

  • quiltrx

    Lots of ‘playing with shape’ here, which is fascinating when viewing the collection as art.  I’m not sure it will translate well into celebs wanting to wear it, though…I can see some of our edgier stars (maybe Tilda, HBC, Cate) wearing a few of these, but I think these are ‘too much look’ for your average ladystar (who cares if people think her hips are wide).

    And the more I look, the more I NEED those grey shoes!!!

  • Zippypie

    This is fabulously Romulan Edwardian 40s chic and I love it!  The colors, the patterns, the art of it.  Can’t wait to see these amazing pieces translated down into their retail counterparts!  Love, love, love!

  • Some of those coats look like David Byrne’s in “Stop Making Sense”. 
    “You make ask yourself, why such a big suit?”

  • Maddict

    Boxes and vomit roses.

  • Stubenville

    New wardrobe for Helena Bonham Carter!

  • Stubenville

    Were any kittens mature enough to remember the heyday of the Carol Burnett show reminded of Carol’s Gone With the Wind parody, which had a dress made of curtains with the rod still in them, spanning the shoulders?

    • RedRaven617

      That was the first thing I thought of as well. 

    • boweryboy


  • Stubenville
  • Love this collection. It combines periods together I would never imagine could work together. 

  • Lulu Lafurge

    Does any woman really want her hips to look that big?

  • conniemd

    Nobody could accuse him of worrying about accentuating model thin shape.

  • Airkisses

    Nobody has mentioned this? Tied up and blindfolded is EXACTLY how I’ll take my male models thankyouverymuch! I’ll take one of each! 😉

    • Melvis Velour

      Not if I get there before you do hon…

  • mike__tv

    I can’t wait to go out and purchase one of those giant box coats so I can finally achieve my dream of being as uncomfortable as possible! 

  • NYCGlamourpuss

    My god, I’m just speechless.  This is just so gorgeous and dramatic… thank you for our pretty for the day, Uncles.

  • Trisha26


  • forward_slash_PRS

    Eighth row down, far right: he shopped in a hardware store! and a florist!

  • boweryboy

    Thom Browne’s womenswear collections have filled my fashion as theater niche that’s been empty since McQueen’s death.

    Fantastically wack-a-doodle.  Lurve it.

  • sleepycat

    As someone that has a theatre design background I love the staging, but the fashion isn’t my thing.

  • Anniebet

    Heresy upcoming!

    My first response to the pictures: Too much. Too rosey, too twee, too theatrical, too broad (shoulders and hips), too..much. Sure, some of the clothes are lovely, the collection is exquisitely crafted, albeit a tad weird for my tastes. Nearly unwearable, IMO, except for a few pieces, mixed and matched. 

    Then I watched the video of the “runway” show. It was elegant and dramatic. I can understand why those in attendance were awed. 
    But, after considering the absolutely gorgeous coat he designed for our dear FLOTUS, these puffed up confections hop out of the fashion-frying-pan into the cirque-du-acid-trip-fire. My final response: Too, too much.

  • bertkeeter

    And TB comes out at the end in a severe and conservative grey suit? Paleaseeee! He is definetly creative and talented….but what’s the point of this…when you go to Barneys or where ever this won’t be there. The same for his men’s collection…

  • Io Vee


  • RzYoung

    Ooo, other worldly! I love red/pink with grey, they really compliment each other. What an original looking collection

  • Sara LaBatt

    This is really interesting and beautiful.  I will admit when I saw the last red dress my eyes went straight to the Ven-flower though!

  • Thathoodwink

    What the well-dressed Sandwich Sign Girl wears on a brisk autumn day.

  • This is a little too “out there” for me, but even I have to admit that this collection is made up of truly beautiful textiles and prints. And it’s a visually stunning and interesting show.

  • LaSylphide

    I think we’re in Helena Bonham Carter territory here.

    • amf0001

      I was thinking of this as the HBC collection.  I can see her in almost everything here.  And she’d be beautiful!

  • save_the_hobbit

    Thom Browne freaks me the hell out.

  • Puckndc

    Looks like the Romulans are in the fashion biz now….

  • laquevuela


  • They couldn’t get Carol Burnett to model any of these?

  • This is couture, right? No one is actually thinking that people will wear this stuff in real life, right?

  • This is gorgeous!!! Love all the patterns.

  • shanteUstay

    This is fabulous, it’s like Tim burton/Sweeney Todd couture!
    This whole collection is soooooooo high fashion strange but cartoony in the most fabulous way!

  • This screams The Capitol of the Hunger Games and President Snow … come on.. .does anyone else see the influence?

  • libraangel

    50 Shades of Gray + Helena Bonham Carter = Thom Browne

  • guest2vists

    Yes, eerie and bizarre… Alice in Wonderland goes to the office.  It makes me love-love the textiles though, and I want to see
    them in more real incarnations.

  • akprincess72

    I’d really like it IF the proportions weren’t so weird.

  • lilazander

    Rageddy Doll’s dresses.

  • Helen Bonham Carter needs at least a few dresses from this collection.

  • gasp!