Paris Fashion Week: Thom Browne's Mad Hatter runway suits him to a T
On one side of a banquet table that ran the length of the ballroom at the Westin Paris Hotel sat 20 behatted, bewigged and bespectacled Johnny lookalikes (let's call them "Depplicates," shall we?). Facing across a table loaded with a bounty of real food and a menagerie of once real but currently taxidermed animals, sat 20 men wearing white ponytailed cable-knit hats that resembled powdered wigs. An additional pair of stern-looking hatters sat at opposite ends of the table.
There was no doubt about it: Thom Browne was about to take us down the runway rabbit hole to a Mad Hatter themed affair -- but he certainly wasn't in any hurry to do it.
One by one, to the strains of chamber music, each model stood up and did a double slow-timed lap around the table -- twice -- before sitting back down. Although the nearly glacial place made for a long show (and one that felt even longer thanks to the bounty of food, including whole roast turkeys and corn on the cob, sitting just out of reach) the sluggish pace and extra lap that pushed the run of show north of 20 minutes (most last barely 10) was the perfect way to show a runway collection that was crammed with details like convertible trousers with lower pant legs that unbutton (instead of unzip), short coat tails that fold over and button to create a bow-like effect or the longer coat tails designed to button at the jacket cuff to create a batwing look.
In addition to Browne's usual assortment of pieces (which includes capes, blazers with contrast tipping and the occasional man skirt) there were a lot of new options in the trouser department including argyle plus-fours and a pair of maroon and white horizontal stripe trousers that bloused at midcalf.
Some of the Depplicates were accessorized with with chunky argyle or cable-knit headbands (they also had button closures, which, if you think it through, seem kind of unnecessary), and others wore a range of more formal hats -- top hats and pork pie hats among them -- also from the Thom Browne label.
Which kind of makes him the mad hatter of menswear, doesn't it?
-- Adam Tschorn, reporting from Paris
Photos: Looks from Thom Browne's Fall and Winter 2011 men's runway presentation on Jan. 23, 2011, on the last night of Paris Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson & Peter Stigter