Inside Thom Browne’s Enchanting, Romantic Universe

Leave it to Thom Browne to go full-on romantic at his show, which took place on Valentine’s Day. The fanfare across the acclaimed designer, beloved for his theatrical and heady presentations, felt especially charged with love this season, as he headed stateside to Recent York Fashion Week for the primary time in over two years.

With each collection, Browne delves deeper right into a fantasy. Upon entering The Shed, I immediately knew we were in for a treat after I spotted an enormous white propellor plane crashed right into a mound of Thom Browne-gray sand, with papier-mâché stars and moons above. It set the scene for a runway version of The Little Prince that clocked in at just over a half an hour, taking over the air of a play and delivering a dose of much-needed drama to the style week schedule.

Thom Browne fall/winter 2023.

Arturo Holmes//Getty Images

Browne’s takeaway of the well-known story was the sensation that children know higher than adults, as they see the world with unbiased, untainted eyes; his childlike sense of wonder was evident within the dramatic retelling of the story. Madame Debra Shaw played the pilot, with latest face Alex Consani starring because the Prince, doe-eyed and unaware of his future fate. The so-called “planets” that the Prince visits entered, with six male models in richly embroidered sheath dresses depicting each planet. After, the “adults” appeared, clad in Browne’s signature suiting, complete with ginormous shoulders, rigorous tailoring, and bouclé tweeds and satin, all within the strict color palette he’s best known for: grey, red, blue, and navy.

Then got here the kids, led by Jessica Stam, who’s experiencing somewhat of a renaissance along with her return to the runways, wearing off-kilter, deconstructed suiting, corsetry, boning, and skirts—all barely undone. Paisley clashed with plaids, which clashed with tartans, showing the innocent way children are inclined to dress, blissfully unaware of societal norms and fashion faux pas. Models teetered on massive platforms with clocks as heels; Browne’s dachshund-shaped bags and briefcases were also stamped with clocks. Anna Cleveland slithered in wearing an almost overwhelmingly beaded snake-like dress, attacking the Prince and prompting his demise. Precious Lee swooped in because the angel, to avoid wasting the Prince and save the day, bringing him back to life and sending him back to his home planet.

thom browne runway february 2023 new york fashion week

Thom Browne hands a heart-shaped box of chocolates to his husband, Andrew Bolton.

Arturo Holmes//Getty Images

The sweetest end to the show got here when Browne trotted out for his bow and brought a heart-shaped box of chocolates to his husband Andrew Bolton, who sat front row to cheer on his partner. The real ear-to-ear smile on Browne’s face as he shyly delivered the sweet gift drove home the real simplicity, beauty, and style in creating from the guts and leading with love. To cite The Little Prince, “It is just with the guts that one can see rightly; what is crucial is invisible to the attention.”

Headshot of Kevin LeBlanc

Kevin LeBlanc is the Fashion Associate at ELLE Magazine. He covers fashion news, trends, and anything to do with Robyn Rihanna Fenty.

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