Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Thom Browne

Fashion News: JonBenet Ramsay's dad slams 'Toddlers & Tiaras'

Toddlers & Tiaras

The father of JonBenet Ramsay, the 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant found slain at home 15 years ago in a case that remains unsolved, says he regrets allowing his daughter to participate in pageants and be put on display because it could have made her a target. And he finds television shows like "Toddlers & Tiaras," above, disturbing, he says. [New York Daily News]

"The Bachelor's" Ben Flajnik and Courtney Robertson swore Monday night after this season's finale that although they had broken up between the filming of the proposal and its airing, they are back together and happy. But when Robertson was seen out running errand in L.A. on Tuesday she wasn't wearing the engagement ring. Hmmmm? [Us Weekly] 

Jennifer Lawrence

A variety of styles was seen on the red carpet during the L.A. premiere of "The Hunger Games" on Monday evening. Notable looks included star Jennifer Lawrence's old-school gold lame gown with sweeping train, Kelly Osbourne's feminine tuxedo (worn with lavender hair), Miley Cyrus' two-piece bustier and skirt and Elizabeth Banks' one-shoulder orange mini. [Los Angeles Times]

L'Oreal and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are collaborating on a $1.2-million research project aimed at eliminating animal testing of beauty products. [WWD] (subcription required)

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's capsule shoe collection for Superga will be available to buy exclusively at Harvey Nichols later this month. [Vogue]

Thom Browne will be the first American designer to show during Aurora Fashion Week in Saint Petersburg, Russia, which takes place in April. [WWD] (subscription required)

Nina Agdal has been named Rookie of the Year for her first-time appearance this year in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition. The 19-year-old is from Denmark and reportedly has been dating singing idol Joe Jonas recently. [Modelinia]


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--Susan Denley

Photos, from top: Destiny Ellis, age 5, competes in a pageant in 2009 on "Toddlers & Tiaras";  Jennifer Lawrence in gold lame at "The Hunger Games" Los Angeles premiere. Credits: Rebecca Drobis / TLC;  Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

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

Thom Browne expands into retro-cool eyewear 

New York Fashion Week: Thom Browne's sister act

New York Fashion Week Fall 2012 Review: Rodarte's land far, far away

 -- 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

Thom Browne expands into retro-cool eyewear

Dita for Thom Browne Eyewear

Fashion designer Thom Browne recently rolled out his latest brand extension -- a collection of retro-cool unisex sunnies and optical frames inspired by architects, politicians, industry and design of the 1940s, '50s and '60s.

Besides being a super-stylish selection of shades that keys perfectly into the TB aesthetic, the eyewear program is noteworthy not only because it marks the label's first foray into licensed products, but also because the company behind the fabulous frames is Los Angeles-based Dita Eyewear.

It also happens to be the first license deal for the independently owned eyewear company (founded in
1996 by childhood friends Jeff Solorio and John Juniper) that has all of its wares handmade in Japan where the process can take from six months to a year.

ThomBrowne2Browne and Dita's co-founders have a longtime personal friendship, a Dita representative told us, and the company has frequently been called on to craft the spectacular spectacles that appear in Browne's over-the-top menswear presentations. 

That relationship eventually grew into the 27 pieces, ranging in price from $450 to $1,000, that comprise the debut collection rolling out to the shelves of Barneys New York, Robert Marc eyewear shops and Browne's Hudson Street store in New York City, and locally at the Dita Legends boutique at 7625 Melrose Ave. 

One part "Mad Men," one part Michael Douglas' glasses in "Falling Down," and a soupcon of steampunk, the inaugural offerings tweak the familiar Wayfarer and aviator silhouettes, with circle lenses and leather or metal mesh side cups that serve up just the right amount of Thom Browne quirk (in that "we're-ready-for-nuclear-winter" kind of way).

The color palette is grounded in smoke gray, silver and tortoiseshell, with Browne's trademark red-white-and-blue signature barely visible at the tip of each earpiece.

The next installment -- which will will build on the unisex frames by adding specific looks for men and women -- are due for spring/summer 2012 and are expected to be available in March. 


New York Fashion Week: Thom Browne's sister act

Currently Coveting: Barton Perreira's retro-inspired shades

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

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos, from top: Two of the eyewear styles from the inaugural Thom Browne New York collection that hit retail in mid-November; a model wears a pair -- along with a Thom Browne look -- from the current ad campaign. Credits: Dita Eyewear; John Juniper and Lionel Deluy

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

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


New York Fashion Week: Thom Browne's sister act

Paris Fashion Week: Thom Browne's Mad Hatter runway suits him to a T

Thom Browne steals the thunder at Paris Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week: Thom Browne's sister act

Thom Browne Aw11 Women

Thom Browne's first women's runway show may have taken place here on Valentine's Day, but the collection was no love letter to the female form, offering up dramatic pieces that played with volume:  broadening at the hips like a set of parentheses, wrapping like a fur tourniquet tightly around the  thorax, layering bell shapes to form an almost  Christmas-tree silhouette, and closing with an outfit that looked like the cross between an egg-timer and a tea cozy.

The show itself was exactly what you might expect from a showman like Browne -- before the show, the cavernous, wood-paneled Edna Barnes Salomon Room upstairs at the New York Public Library contained only a pair of altar boys kneeling in prayer and a soundtrack of monastic chanting.

Then the models entered -- each clad in an identical black nun's habit topped with a winged, white Rage_TB_collage
wimple (similar to the headgear sported by Sally Field in "The Flying Nun"). Then, to the tune "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" the models began to step forward one by one to be literally defrocked by the altar boys, revealing the outfit from the fall-winter 2011 collection underneath.

The first few looks to shed the habit looked like the standard-issue shrunken men's suits Browne is famous for, only with tailoring tweaked to fit the female form and pant legs cuffed so high the garments might technically qualify as clam diggers.

But then Browne's beauties quickly became studies in shape and volume. One gray wool coat sprouted a funnel-neck collar that reached the upper lip, arms that flared in semicircles from shoulder to elbow to mimic the arc of skirt ballooning from hip to thigh. Another gray wool mini-dress had a hem that grazed the thigh, a tall collar reaching mid-cheekbone, and was styled with a pair of gray cable-knit leggings.

Tb99 Some outfits were nipped in at the waist to form a silhouette that "Mad Men's" Betty Draper would feel right at home in, others were designed with an empire waist. Many looks were layered -- skirts, capes, jackets and scarves.

It was this focus on layering -- and Browne's love of capes -- that resulted in the most unusual silhouette of the collection, a closing look that might kindly be called the Humpty Dumpty, which layered a stiff white felt ovoid cape trimmed in red-, white- and blue-striped grosgrain over a white cable-knit pencil skirt.

Avant-garde? Certainly. Wearable? Not so much. But like the three-legged trousers and feather-festooned suits that Browne has been known to send down his menswear runway, it's as much -- if not more -- about showcasing the vision and tailoring talent of the creative team as it is about wearability.

Besides, Browne knows that making an omelet requires breaking a few eggs.

And what we saw here during New York Fashion Week was merely his first crack at it.


Thom Browne women's collection fall-winter 2011 runway show gallery

-- Adam Tschorn in New York

Photos: Looks from Thom Browne's debut women's wear runway collection on Monday. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times

Paris Fashion Week Highlights


When the Paris menswear shows come around every year it's tempting to ditch the real world, hop on a plane, excitedly touch down at Charles de Gaulle and sneak in a couple Laduree macaroons before the Louis Vuitton show. It's a fine idea to flirt with and ah... a girl can dream, but most of us can't catch a jet to Paris on a whim. Lucky for fashion lovers on our side of the world, we don't have to. Adam Tschorn gives us the best that Paris Fashion Week has to offer, bringing readers the drama, glitz and glamour happening on and off the runways. This week he gives readers an exclusive front-row seat, with the best highlights from the Paris shows. Don't miss looks from your favorite designers with our photo galleries showcasing everyone from Thom Browne to Mugler.

-- Jenn Harris


Photo, top: A model presents a creation by John Galliano as part of the men's fall-winter 2011/2012 collection shown during Paris Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter.

Photo, bottom: A look from the Thom Browne runway collection shown during Paris Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsoon and Peter Stigter.

Paris Fashion Week: Thom Browne's Mad Hatter runway suits him to a T

Thom Browne AW11 Menswear Photos
The stage -- and the table -- had already been set by the time guests arrived at Thom Browne's runway show on the last night of men's fashion week here.

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

Something to look forward to -- at the men's fall-winter 2011-2012 European collections


If you think there's not much excitement about the men's shows coming up in Milan and Paris (other than some more wacky suit lengths from Thom Browne), well, think again. Our very own  Adam Tschorn reports: "Based on the lineup of new and returning labels on the European calendar, one gets the distinct impression that the economic malaise of the last couple of seasons -- which saw luxury brands pairing down, scaling back, and opting for less expensive presentations, or in some cases, forgoing a spot on the schedule altogether -- may be waning."

Think Jimmy Choo for men. Think Thierry Mugler menswear ... and, of course, think Thom Browne.  And look for  Adam's regular blog posts from the shows, starting this weekend.

-- Alice Short

Photo: A look from Phillip Lim 3.1 spring-summer 2011 men's runway show in Paris. Credit:

2010 Divine Design Gala to honor Kelly Osbourne, Brooks Brothers

Get ready to brandish those checkbooks, bargain-seeking stylish ones! Project Angel Food's annual Divine Design event is getting ready to drop-kick you through the goal posts of another holiday shopping season.

The benefit will be returning to the former Robinsons-May space in Beverly Hills, where it will run Dec. 1-6.

Rage_osbourneAs usual, it will kick off with a first-night gala event, and this year's honorees are Kelly Osbourne (chosen as Divine Design's 2010 woman of style), interior designers Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams (being honored as interior design pioneers) and Brooks Brothers, which is receiving a corporate humanitarian award.

Which makes Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers' spring/summer 2011 collection an appropriate choice for the evening's runway presentation. We're told that fashion designer Thom Browne (who collaborates with Brooks Brothers on the line) will be in attendance as well, and that Brad Goreski (late of "The Rachel Zoe Project") will be introducing the catwalk collection.

To date, the list of designers and labels whose wares are to be available -- at a deep discount and for a good cause -- includes Barbara Tfank, Monique Lhuillier, Perry Ellis, Trina Turk., Marc by Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford.

Tickets for the Dec. 1 opening-night gala, a Dec. 2 VIP cocktail shopping party, as well as general admission to the six-day shopstravaganza (and a coupon worth $10 off admission) can be found by clicking here.

Divine Design, Dec. 1-6, 9900 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills. Hours, ticket prices and additional information available at

 -- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Kelly Osbourne, who will be honored as Divine Design's 2010 woman of style. Credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters



Mr. Peanut gets a wardrobe makeover -- and a voice

You have to admit, as advertising mascots go, Mr. Peanut is one darn dapper fellow -- what with his monocle, top hat, cane, white gloves and spats. Hardly the type in need of a wardrobe overhaul.

 So I was surprised when I caught a segment on this morning's TV news.

Although the topic was the fact that -- after 94 years -- Planters' peanut-shilling shell had been given a voice -- and that it just so happened to be the voice of Robert Downey Jr. (OK, that IS nuts, I'll admit it) what I couldn't believe was the tiny little ensemble our familiar little nutty buddy happened to be wearing.

In the holiday-party-themed, animated ad (embedded below for your viewing pleasure) the luxe legume was seriously bringing it -- kitted out in a gray wool, notch lapel three-button suit jacket accented with white piping, gray trousers, a white dress shirt with French cuffs and light green necktie. And Mr. P was rocking a crisply folded triangle of white pocket square to boot.

Could it be that Mr. Peanut was wearing a Thom Browne suit? The style sure seemed spot on -- the shade of gray, the piping, the shrunken silhouette of the short jacket. To get the skinny on the salted one's sartorial switcheroo, I made a couple of calls.

The folks responsible for the updated look are Kris and Alisa Wixom, creative directors at advertising agency Being (in conjunction with Smuggler and Laika House) and Kris Wixom told All The Rage that Mr. Peanut's new threads weren't modeled after any one designer specifically. "It's based on the aesthetic of Savile Row custom tailors -- I wanted him to look like he was in a high-end custom suit."

Kris Wixom said there was some connection to real-world style. "I was inspired by some of the suits at Freemans Sporting Club in New York City," he said. "We wanted a look that felt both classic and modern."

But why re-garb the goober in the first place? For that we turned to Jason Levine, Planters' senior marketing director. "This is all about contemporizing Mr. Peanut. He's one of the best-loved advertising icons in America but we'd found that people didn't really connect with him beyond nostalgia."

That's why depictions of Mr. Peanut 2.0 have ditched the banana-yellow hue of his previous incarnation in favor of the new authentic textured-shell peanut color, and appear more to scale (that would be actual peanut size and not human size). It also explains his new found powers of vocalization. "It's another way to get him off the package and get to know him," Levine said.

(Another way of engaging and contemporizing Mr. Peanut apparently includes giving him a Facebook page --astrological sign: Virgo, location: Suffolk, Va.)

Being's Alisa Wixom gave us the low-down on why Downey was the right choice of voice to crack the nut's 94 years of silence: "He can pull off classic roles like Charlie Chaplin and also be Iron Man," she said. "He's got an everyman quality but he's also got the kind of suaveness that can pull off the top hat and the cane."

Speaking of which, while the Wixoms hinted that while Mr. Peanut's wardrobe could well expand in future ads (depending on the occasion, of course), they said it would only do so in a way that fit Mr. P's new look.

And Planters' senior marketing director answered our most important question before we could even ask it.

"That top hat, cane and monocle keep him true to who he is," Levine said. "Anything he wears and any situation Mr. Peanut is in is going to involve those elements."

 -- Adam Tschorn

Photos: The nattily garbed Planters' Mr. Peanut mascot circa 2004, left, and as he appears in new advertisements unveiled Nov. 9, 2010, right. Credit: Planters.


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