You could say that Thom Browne, or at least his design sensibility, is in a mourning period. So it’s unclear whether he inspired the Met’s ‘Death Becomes Her’ fashion exhibit that ended two weeks ago — the museum’s new fall/winter programming between the major Met Gala shows each spring — or vice versa. (The fact that he’s inamoratos with a curator at the Costume Institute keeps the distinction as cloaked as the black veils we saw today.)
But it hardly matters. Either way, Browne’s somber, elegiac collection — that, like the exhibit, took its cues from well-heeled quasi-Edwardian women in mourning — was magnificent. To a mix of melancholy new material from Bjork, models in all black moved slowly around the space, almost levitating, in exquisite finery that could easily have been couture (in fact, Browne is rather obsessed with the European craft). Editors were leaning in to see the handiwork, from feather embroidery to tight astrakhan trim to tidy black leather gloves, plus lots and lots of zippers.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though; Browne is also noted for a droll sense of humor. This season he trawled out a curious whale motif that we’ve seen before from him, stitching it into various pieces, most memorably on the bottom of a long skirt. Think of it as his mascot. And come to think of it, the last look bared midriff and a few looks earlier showed an abundance of underboob — cheeky! Meanwhile, as usual, the London milliner Stephen Jones made the funny little hats and veils that completed the funereal theme.