The collegiate worlds of various sports collided with the exquisite world of ballet at the Thom Browne SS20 show. Set in the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts: the home of fine arts teaching in Paris; it was a beautiful backdrop for Thom Browne’s clever blend of sportswear-flexed line-out. This included the shoulder pads of American footballers (in jackets and coats), their masks, too, broken down and abstracted; even the lace-up football became a bum bag. The ovoid shape became padding on elbows and elsewhere on one beautifully crafted coat, too.
At the beginning of the show: fun! When a tutu-wearing ballet dancer James Whiteside (of American Ballet Theatre) unzipped models (who were stood on plinths) and wearing fancy zip-bags (the kind you keep in your wardrobe) to reveal exquisite cotton Seersucker shorts suits in pastels and a delicious lemon. It was bizarre and beautiful. In the centre of the runway a Manekken Pis – the 61 cm bronze sculpture and tourist must-see in the centre of Brussels. Brown rendered his version in a material tape. Tennis balls in tape surrounded the statue. It was a cheeky allegory for the “sportswear codes meets high art and culture” inspiration behind this master-tailor’s mood next spring. Such brilliant fun.
by Richard Gray