Thom Browne RTW Fall 2022

Welcome to Thom Browne’s Island of Misfit Toys. 

On Friday evening in New York, Browne unveiled his fall men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collection, filled with classic-meets-conceptualized takes on children’s toys, rooted in a message of optimistic individuality. 

“I always feel like New York is the city everyone comes to find or create themselves,” Browne said during a preview on Wednesday. “Almost in a way, [like] the old Christmas cartoon — the Island of Misfit Toys from Rudolph. It’s a place where you can be true to yourself and comfortable. This collection, in a really strong way, I wanted to celebrate that. We are living in a world where people are so much more accepting, and it’s an inspiring time we’re living in.”

For the show in a sunlit space on the second floor of the Javits Center, Browne continued his well-known theatrics with 500 teddy bears in gray suits and matching gray chairs with the signature four stripes. Leading them was a larger-than-life teddy bear master of ceremonies in a cape, top hat and with an earring in one ear.

“The collection is based on toys,” Browne said at the preview. “Half is conceptualized versions of clothing, based on Slinkys, a toy box, a jack-in-the-box, little wooden blocks and little cars. Half is on the ‘adult version’ of those toys. The adults are coming to the show to find their corresponding toy, and their corresponding toy is their true self. In a way, because the toys in the collection are so individual and unique to what the object is, I think it represents each individual being a unique, true individual.”

The show began with Browne’s “adults” section, featuring hallmarks of his 20-year heritage with a play on menswear fabrics — from herringbones to windowpanes — in a multitude of layered-up genderless suiting silhouettes. A sharply tailored multicheck topcoat with repp stripe silk piping used the same repp stripe on the inside panels of its multicolor pleated skirt, creating a playful effect in motion. Repetition is key in Browne’s world and fall’s adult lineup continued the concept.

“Twenty years into my collection, seeing those classic ideas that really haven’t had to change that much and feel really new every season, it really speaks to the importance of the conceptualized ideas that I do, because it gives those classic ideas life every season,” the designer said. 

Browne’s second act — the toys — played to his couture-like sensibility, with equal whimsy and craftsmanship.

“As conceptual as an idea is, I want to make sure people see it’s made as beautifully as it can,” he explained. And was it.

A “Broken Slinky” look with accordion sleeves falling out of its mixed tweed jacket and mixed repp-and-check accordion-pleated skirt stole the show, especially with its Slinky-inspired Hector the dog handbag and platform shoes. There was a larger-than-life lobster corseted dress with patchwork bell sleeves, an XXL cricket sweater — quite literally reminiscent in shape, of a tennis ball; a quilted and embroidered “Rubik’s Cube” multicolored patchwork jacket, and lots more. Every look was finished with nods to childhood nostalgia — clown-inspired makeup, bubbled hair buns and bulbous knit caps, plenty of playful platform footwear (with children’s block heels), and toy-inspired handbags ranging from jack-in-the-boxes to wooden blocks and oversized stuffed animals.

“New Yorkers, meet your true selves,” a speaker boomed at the finale as Browne’s adults met their toy counterparts. And with another beautiful collection, Browne’s moral of his toy story came to life.

Now go play.

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