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Thom Browne Pre-Fall 2023 Collection

How do you follow up the Opera Garnier gala, which opened with Gwendoline Christie in a braided coat and closed with MJ Rodriguez in a button-down shirt and tie ( MJ Rodriguez, wearing men’s underwear peeking out from the waistband of her pants, not only swaggered around Aretha Franklin’s “pink Cadillac,” but at Pink Cadillac? If you were Thom Browne, you would do a U-turn and replace Cinderella with Moby Dick.

At first glance, this early autumn series is much calmer than spring and summer, with different shades of navy blue and gray, more typical brown silhouettes. Of course, Herman Melville’s classic is a story of obsession and revenge, but look closely at the clothes—Browne’s are often worth scrutinizing—and you’ll spot the humor, too. Check out the intarsia double-breasted coat, where a lifeboat full of sailors dwarfs a giant sperm whale, or the tailored skirt suit in a wallpaper print depicting the final sea battle between Captain Ahab and the white whale. In terms of accessories, Hector the bag makes some new friends, not only the victorious whale, but also the Pequod, the doomed ship.

About this season’s styles. Despite a 60s-short shift or two, Browne’s instinct was to cut his tailoring lean and long, often layering pants under skirt shapes to elongate the line. Pairing tweed leggings with tweed separates creates a similar elongating effect. What’s remarkable about Browne is that his aesthetic is so clear and unique that both the Cinderella and Moby Dick collections can only be designed by him.

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