The Paris men’s shows couldn’t have found a better ending than Thom Browne’s Punks and Jocks, an exhilarating, visually exciting parade of chic renegades. To a solemn soundtrack of Prokofiev, models zipped through the grand gallery of the Musée de la Mineralogie wearing studded, scalpel-cut jackets and multi-zippered kilts. Spikes were a recurring adornment on shoulders, sleeves, face masks (a trend), and elbow and knee patches.
But the vibe was more humorous than harmful, especially in light of the inflated torsos of the jocks—think Popeye as a Wall Street banker. And there was levity in the cartoonish gaits of the models, a stick jutting out of a model’s zipper, and a skirt suit of the Margaret Thatcher variety that appeared in a fantastic pink and green section of the show.
Punks have haunted fashion runways ever since they invaded the streets of London in the late 1970s. Here, Browne rekindled the memory. The outrageously protruding derrieres brought to mind Vivienne Westwood’s faux-culs or Comme des Garçons’ famous “bump” collection of the 90s, while the exaggerated shoulder lines recalled Viktor & Rolf’s glory years.
Despite the crossdressing and irony, the show was really about Browne’s fashion convictions, namely impeccably cut men’s tailoring. In his two last shows, that message has been muddled by heavy mise-en-scènes. This time around, the fast-paced, straightforward défilé did the clothes justice. They had a newfound energy, probably because the designer ditched bourgeois inspirations in favor of a theme that originated in the street.