The scene at New York-based fashion designer Thom Browne's Fall/Winter 2014 show included church pews, glowing crosses, and burning incense. Browne is best known for producing a spectacle, and this season was no exception. Last year, Browne's mental asylum included pieces of latex, Joker-like make-up, and medical gloves. This time, Browne took his audience to mass.
The show opened with alter boys—clad in green and white robes with a white lace, doily-like face cover—who took their positions around the room before kneeling—to worship, one would assume—alongside the runway.
Browne's "nuns" (models) donned sharp eyebrows, smokey eye makeup, and nails similar to those worn by Lorde to the Grammy Awards. On their heads were icy bobs with white veils attached to the top by a gold fascinator. The models were assisted onto the platformed catwalk one-by-one, and their veils were lifted to reveal their faces.
Although the designer's presentations have become recognized for ambiance of the shows, Browne's clothing has much more of a couture craftsmanship and aesthetic than most of his peers showing at New York Fashion Week. Down the runway came a collection of mainly black, white, grey, and creme looks, which included dresses and tops with voluminous sleeves, precisely tailored coats and capes, and mermaid pencil skirts with flared ends that seemed a bit difficult to walk in, especially while wearing heeled mules or lace-up booties. Browne's use of Elizabethan silhouettes was again ever-present, and most of the tailored outwear was reminiscent of the famed coat Michelle Obama wore to her husband's second inauguration.
For the final few looks, the monochromatic color scheme transformed into a series of glistening gold pieces, including gilded blazers and floor-length dresses. The last to take the runway was a shimmering gold, high-low gown with two elbow length cuffs, a thick choker, and heeled mules. It was a reminder that regardless of how outrageous the setting may be, one cannot deny Browne's dexterity in designing clothes.
It was a collection truly worth worshipping. In Thom Browne we trust.