Thom Browne is coming back to New York City — at least for one season.
The designer said that in a dramatic show of support for his longtime partner Andrew Bolton’s upcoming show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he will hold his fashion show in the city as well. Bolton is head curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. As reported, the Met is planning a two-pronged, yearlong celebration, the first of which will be held in September and underlined by a fashion exhibition. Called “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” the exhibition will serve to celebrate the Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary and will explore the modern vocabulary of American fashion. It will also coincide with New York Fashion Week, which will start on Sept. 8 and run through Sept. 12.
“I decided to return to New York to support Andrew’s upcoming show at the Met,” Browne said. “I think it is so important that all American designers recognize the importance of Andrew’s vision. This celebration of American fashion will be such a great showcase of the true talent that exists here in America.”
Browne said that his plan is to show his men’s and women’s collections together, but beyond that, the specifics have yet to be worked out. His last two shows were film extravaganzas, the first in the L.A. Coliseum for his spring ’21 collection featuring Olympic athletes, and the second one with Lindsey Vonn skiing down Solitude Mountain in Park City, Utah, in a Thom Browne tuxedo for the fall line.
The designer said that he’s not yet sure whether any celebrities will be involved in the September show, but he expects it will be memorable nonetheless. “I am not sure what and how I will be showing in New York, but I am sure that I am going to make it worthy of my return to New York. I will try not to disappoint.”
But don’t get too accustomed to seeing Thom Browne show in New York. He said he’s going back to Paris when it’s safe to do so.
“After this show in New York in September, I plan on returning to Paris where I have been showing my collections for quite some time now,” he said. “But I am still always so proud to be an American designer showing in Paris.”
He continued: “Paris has been so important to me as a designer — and for my evolution and growth as a designer. [The city has] always embraced the provocative ideas in my collections and, also, it has challenged me to live up to the standards of showing in Paris.”
He said that as an American designer in Paris, he feels it’s imperative to always be on top of his game. “It is important that I represent American fashion in the strongest and most important way possible,” he said. “I want American fashion to be proud.”
He will be seeking the same result for his New York return.
“The format of my show in September will most certainly be a combination of what I have been experimenting with in the last year and something physical, which I so love. The short films for the last collections have been a challenge and a lot of fun to create, and this I want to carry on into the future of how I show my collections. But an in-person experience, being able to show the collections, with all of the special details and emotions, in real time, is always important and irreplaceable.”
His last two shows were applauded for their creativity and ability to blend fantasy with drama. And he hopes to be able to re-create that in New York this fall — whatever the format may be.
“I will never stop challenging myself to create fantasy and beauty and provocation in my collections, whether it be live or digital,” he said.
Browne said that showcasing his collection in a film format was a learning experience for him and his team. “The most important thing that we all have learned is how to challenge ourselves to do things differently, but never forgetting about what we have done well in the past — that we focus on what we can do and forget about what we cannot.”
Although the pandemic has dramatically changed how designers show their collections, Browne believes that so long as they remain true to their core values, the shows — in whatever format they appear — will continue to have value.
“The most important thing to me is that every designer should use his or her own individual voice to tell a story in whatever way suits them, to stay true to who you are and truly authentic,” he said. “And the story being told should be important, entertaining, thought-provoking, beautiful and uniquely and personally authentic.”