Thom Browne SS20 Fuses Sportswear Whimsy With Marie Antoinette's Dresses

Ivy League style undercut by basketball, soccer and football aesthetics.

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Though Fall 2019 was a relatively understated affair for New York’s ever-imaginative Thom Browne, Spring/Summer 2020 delivers the wanton brilliance the designer’s runway shows are known for. Led by a ballet performance from the American Ballet Theatre’s principal dancer, James B. Whiteside, the show transitioned from stunning trompe l’oeil tailoring to meticulously crafted French Revolution fashion.

After the scene shifted from a selection of 2D garments, removed to reveal Browne’s brilliant designs below, the show began in earnest. The looks, as gleefully playful as ever, took on elements of Browne’s typical offerings and elevated them to the level of supreme costume design. Several imposing silhouettes recalled dresses worn by Antoinette-era aristocracy, with gargantuan trousers and shapely sportcoats crafted to resemble distorted Ivy League staples. Elsewhere, pleated skirts emerged as a prime trouser replacement, with cropped jackets and seersucker jockstraps to introduce a sporty motif.

Athletic aesthetics also inspired the ball-shaped shoes and luxurious sport balls carried by the models, which included baseball-shaped ball bags, complete with tennis- and basketball-shaped attachments. Delicate parisols were bereft of shades and luscious coats served up imagery of fish and flowers, while Browne’s signature three-striped ribbon appeared as a headband, belt and embroidered across some of the petticoat-style looks. Rich flower appliqué and shapely knitwear kept the drama coming, supported by pointy-toed derbies and bell-shaped skirt skeletons, a technique appropriated later to create skeletal football helmets.

Enjoy the lavish presentation in action below.

Elsewhere at Paris Fashion Week, we went backstage at RHUDE’s debut presentation.

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