Thom Browne Knows a Thing or Two About Good Tail

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Photo: Imaxtree

Last season, Thom Browne showed in his Tribeca store, where, lacking typically large and comfortable fashion-show facilities, models had to step onto the runway from the sidewalk and then line up outside before passersby to do the finale. But this season was much different. Last year the Japanese Cross Co. bought a majority stake in Browne's label, which perhaps enabled him to show at the grand and almost too-large Park Avenue Armory. Browne said the space inspired him along with "old New York — like real Gilded Age old New York." Models walked slowly from room to room furnished with round tables set with white and Tiffany-turquoise cakes as well as tall white and black candles in fine silver holders. The clothes were the typically humorous Browne fare: skirts and dresses in various lengths, one pair of pretty short shorts, and plenty of his signature ankle pants. But Browne always throws his audiences a curveball. This season's? Raccoon tails.

The stumpy tails stuck out of the backs of hats and dangled off the hems of sleeves and dresses. For the finale look, dozens dragged along the floor dangling off the hem of a swishy black train. "It was the type of thing, like, from old raccoon coats that guys used to wear in the twenties and thirties," Browne explained. "But the detail of just the tail I thought was an interesting way of using the fur. I didn’t want to use the literal raccoon coat." Browne also showed a few fur-trimmed coats and a fur vest. Another highlight were oversize zippers running down the backs of several looks. Browne said he just saw those in the office of the guy he buys zippers from, and decided he wanted to use them. "Sometimes the influences are just as easy as if I see it and I like it, I think of some way to use it," Browne said.

Other influences included rugby and football with a dash of fencing. But Browne always has his customer in mind. "I always use some type of athletic reference, because I think, especially when you do things that are more interesting for guys, I think that reference of sports is something understandable that makes it a little more approachable, which I think is important."