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New York Fashion Week Fall 2012: Thom Browne's Tim Burton moment

The runway show for Thom Browne's fall and winter 2012 women's collection showcased the designer's graceful architectural curves
The showing of Thom Browne's fall and winter 2012 women's collection started with a eulogy delivered before a row of 10 open, coffin-like boxes, each occupied by a gray-suited model whose face and and hands were covered in gauzy white fabric.

"I want to tell you about these 10 beautiful women," eulogized an 11th model. "They loved life, they loved fashion -- and they died for fashion."

With that, haunting music began to float through the Edna Barnes Salomon Room of the New York Public Library, the models arose from their sartorial slumber and Browne's ethereal, quixotic and exquisitely detailed handiwork began to appear.

Although the color palette didn't vary much from Browne's signature range of white, black and gray, the collection made up for it with texture. Each piece used a multitude of different fabrics -- cable knits, tweeds, tulle, flannel and fur -- folded, buttoned, draped and layered into swales, sculpted into geometric humps and bumps and festooned with mirrored squares or flattened fabric foxes.

The runway show for Thom Browne's fall and winter 2012 women's collection showcased the designer's graceful architectural curves

Some pieces used the fabric to create the same kind of graceful architectural curves and arcs Frank Gehry renders in undulating metal, while others were shaped from below and beneath, using bustles, boning and other hidden infrastructure to create beautifully misshapen silhouettes in a "Downton Abbey" meets "Beetlejuice" kind of way. (Underscoring the Tim Burton vibe was a soundtrack that if not plucked from one of the director's movies, certainly could have been.)

In fashion's PLG (pre-Lady Gaga) era, clothes like the ones Browne sent down the runway would have been seen as simply a vehicle for showcasing the designer's considerable skill at shaping and tailoring, but with the kind of adventurous wardrobe pieces being worn by Gaga, Nicki Minaj and their extremely fashion-forward ilk, one no longer wonders if, but when Browne's macabre masterpieces will walk among the living.

It can't happen soon enough. 

The runway show for Thom Browne's fall and winter 2012 women's collection showcased the designer's graceful architectural curves
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 -- Adam Tschorn in New York

Photos: Looks from the Thom Browne fall and winter 2012 women's collection, which was shown on Monday during New York Fashion Week. Credits: Amy Sussman / Getty Images (top); Andrew Burton / Associated Press

 
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