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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

#SuzyNYFW: Thom Browne Superstar

Is the New York designer the only one who dares to make his show AND the clothes a bold and powerful statement?

16 Сентября 2016


The line up around the "swimming pool" (in fact a tiled turquoise floor designed to look like rippling water), was of power socialites from a different era.

Think of the famous poolside pictures by Slim Aarons in the 1950's, when glam beach life pushed fashion into the jet set era.


From their top-knot swim caps and puffy, colourfully flowered duster coats with matching bags, to their mismatched sandals and blue lips, there was a lot to take in. Not to mention the whale-shaped sunglasses and a disco ball hat shaped like a dog.


Just in case these ladies had forgotten one shoe decorated with a whale or an anchor (since all the pairs were unmatched), there were pool waiters to help them — and to remove the ladies' clothes once they started stripping down.

These waiters came dressed as parrots in layers of painted feathers, or as furry cats with whiskers.


Phew! And all that BEFORE the ladies stripped off the beach coats to reveal exemplary tailored outfits — but ones where apparent separates were actually stitched together. Pieces of elegant gingham might give a graphic touch to what looked at first sight like a jacket and dress.


This really was a fantastic, and almost undefinable way, of putting a collection together — as if the ladies had been digitalised after they had dressed and then their outfits pressed together by a computer to 2D.


Nothing was fathomable in this Thom Browne collection — except perhaps the swimming costumes as a third act — all in the red, white and blue of the designer's symbolic colouring.


The show was so dramatic in its presentation that it had to be seen two ways — as a spectacle and as a collection. I longed to see the clothes up close, for they looked not like storage props, but like smart and original clothes that clients like Michelle Obama might willingly wear.

So was it a mistake to present this summer collection in such an extraordinary way? Not at all! It proved what a brilliant and inventive designer Thom Brown is — a rare American fashion treasure.

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