Skirting the Issue at Thom Browne

After seasons of dissecting and adorning his signature taut gray suits in elaborately staged spectacles in an industrial space in the north of Paris, Thom Browne decided to show his summer 2018 collection in the ritzy glass courtyard of the Ecole des Beaux Arts.

How better to make a men-in-skirts statement? The American designer went for executive realness this season, decking out his male models in Wall Street attire — gray, tailored, occasionally checked, with attaché cases — and almost invariably in high-heeled oxford shoes. The proportions, too, were classic Thom Browne: cropped jackets and pants, caped numbers, and those pleated skirts.

His models mainly sported buzz cuts, which probably contributed to butching up the looks. Still, they still seemed to have camp on their mind; at the designer’s instruction, they ogled a golden shoe encased at the center of the runway. The show climaxed with a tongue-in-cheek groom/bride outfit, a black tuxedo in the front and white gown in the back, complete with bosoms and bouquet. It called to mind a similar 1980s camp moment, the half-bride half-groom dancer in Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” video. 

One would be tempted to decipher some sort of reflection on the concept of masculinity in our era. Yet it seemed the designer conceived this show as a no-brainer, just guys in well-tailored suits, skirts, and high heels. 

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