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Paris Fashion Week: Thom Browne's flapper and fringe festival

June 26, 2011 |  5:21 pm

Rage Thom Browne
Thom Browne showed his spring and summer 2012 menswear collection in the intimate venue of the famed Maxim's restaurant on Rue Royale, and it kicked off with the clink of Champagne glasses and to the strains of "Willkommen" from Kander and Ebb's "Cabaret."

What followed after that was Browne's usual curio cabinet of tailored pieces, garments that often seem designed more to showcase his skills than to be worn out in the real world -- such as the fringed lampshade bucket hat worn by the first model down the runway, and cape shoulders as square and angular as a chair back. 

Based in a color palette of black and gray with his traditional red-white-and-blue accents,  the collection of suits, jackets, capes, shirt dresses and shorts was heavy on the stripes and nearly as heavy on the
Thom browne 4 fringe, which seemed to dangle from every garment edge imaginable -- jacket shoulder pads, trousers, the hems of jackets and shirts, the aforementioned lampshade hats, and at least two full-on dresses -- one knee-length number in alternating blue and white striped tiers of flapper fringe, and a tiered flapper fringe dress in black, (worn over a white dinner jacket) and fringe-edged scarves so long they dragged on the ground.

The multitude of stripes, the fringe and the bare arms (many looks -- even the suits -- had dispensed with arms altogether, and either hung like capes or more closely resembled vests), helped elongate the silhouette, as did the strands of pearls that hung loosely from neck to knees, and the black socks held up by garters of red-white-and-blue grosgrain.

What the full-on flapper regalia stole focus from, however, was the fact that Thom Browne's man-boy silhouette is continuing its evolution. The models that sauntered and glowered their way through the dining room looked more "Matrix"  than Maxim's, and even without the padded jackets and vests, clearly had stronger shoulders and more muscular arms than many of the models that have walked his shows in the past.

It's a welcome change. 

-- Adam Tschorn, reporting from Paris

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