Home Fashion Styles The Freaky Underbelly of American Preppy Style

The Freaky Underbelly of American Preppy Style

266
0
The Freaky Underbelly of American Preppy Style

Friday night at Javits Center, numerous demi-celebrities wearing Thom Browne confections held small Teddy Bears in their arms. They then looked across a field with five hundred more Teddy Bears seated in alarmingly uniformity. Teddy bears can’t move, so I guess I shouldn’t have been alarmed—but en masse, the stillness of these playful little prepsters had an almost hysterical, horror film effect. (You could say the same about seeing groups of people in Browne’s clothes.)

New arrives
Class Rings
Everyday Style with Crossover Leggings
TAIL 20% off your first purchase Shop Now

Models with long bags of two- and triple-model models made their way out. A model in big furry platform boots, paws, and a stovepipe hat featuring little bear ears stepped in as a voiceover. “Welcome to my Teddy Talk!” (This was technically Thom Browne’s Fall 2022 show, happening all these months after New York Fashion Week presumably to scoop up some of the celebrities in town for Monday’s gala.)

And then 25 killer preppy looks streamed by—great herringbone and houndstooth and pinstripe and windowpane fabrics edged with rep tie stripes and white and gray piping. The silhouette was almost unchanged—little jackets underneath a longer leaner jacket with bracelet-length sleeves, knife-pleat and A-line skirts over trousers, big platform shoes. It’s amazing what you can do with just that palette of fabrics–the clothes never looked redundant–and I thought it was one of the most assured and elegant statements I’ve ever seen from Browne, loaded with skill, perfectly made. It looks expensive because it’s! Come to think of it, a lot of designers can’t really say that right now.

The toys came next. (Let’s hear it for the tooooys!!!) A huge variety of gray flannel, plaid and stripes are combined with platform shoes made of classic alphabet blocks. There was a tennis sweater which was also a tennis ball. There were lobsters. Slinkies! Tubes! A jacket disguised as jacket Big, sloppy cableknits, and crazy jumbo quilted jackets!

Why? Why not? The American airhead and sphinx are often the same thing. It’s Warhol, it’s the bimbo, it’s hot dogs and milkshakes and hot fudge sundaes as cuisine. It’s what I love about this country—and one of the only things left to love, at that!

A voiceover explained the two parts—25 straight preppy looks, and 25 crazy playful conceptual preppy looks—as New Yorkers meeting their true selves. Browne put it even more bluntly backstage. “New York is the island of misfit toys, and everybody comes here to find themselves or create themselves,”He said. It was a portrait New Yorkers. “finding themselves in their toy version.” It is true—and one of the best things about New York, actually—that living in the city is a process of autobiography. You move to New York in order to meet like-minded oddballs and create a more eccentric, wilder version of yourself. In other words, you reveal your inner freak.

Thom Browne.

thom browne spring 2022

Thom Browne.

Browne has been the American leading expert on the inner freak. He started out as a guy with a quirky idea about suiting—short in the leg and arm—that, unlike many other tailoring trends (say, the skinny suit) doesn’t look dated. It still surprises people. Deviation from the norm is still a no-no in America, especially when it comes to clothes; it’s always funny to me that with all the horrors we’ve settled for (and created) in this country, people are still out here complaining about Ugg boots, Crocs, leggings, and suits that don’t fit right.

The American sphinx and the airhead are often one and same.

But somehow, maybe since he started showing on and off in Paris, in 2017, Browne’s ability to freak has evolved into a movement, or at least something with a bit more urgency. In part, it’s a thing of timing. His menswear often reads as a statement about queerness—a camp knowingness about deviation from norms—and that happened to align with the passion for identity politics that has overtaken celebrity style. Still, his most radical statements happen with his most straightforward clothes—a man in a pleated Thom Browne skirt just sets people off. It’s pretty glorious.

I’ve wondered lately whether Browne could do the same for the ladies. Browne is not without his womenswear fans. All three of his womenswear admirers, Janicza Bravo, International Best-Dressed List keeper Amy Fine Collins and Ella Emhoff, were in attendance on Friday. But his men’s clothing has an incantational quality that strokes the male ego into experimentation—what if I just tried on a skirt? Women’s clothing, generally speaking, has been too serious for too long—or even worse, a bunch of silly gimmicks that feel too thin to really mean something to a woman who wants to make a strong statement with her style. Although some of the best brands in New York right now are extremely playful—like Collina Strada and Christopher John Rogers, and even Rachel Comey and The Row are getting goofier—we really lack a playground. We could use some playthings with the “oh heck let’s just try it”Thom Browne skirt makes men feel like they are a part of the Thom Browne family.

------------------Ads------------------

TAIL 20% off your first purchase Shop Now

------------------Ads------------------

------------------Ads------------------

------------------Ads------------------

------------------Ads------------------

Discover your buzz with Delta-8 THC oils!

------------------Ads------------------

 Organic healthy sleep for the whole family

------------------Ads------------------

E-Liquid Vape Deals

------------------Ads------------------

Buy your dream dress during Dress Day!

Some people don’t have the patience to wear crazy concept clothes. However, when you add the semi-political undercurrent from the Browne movement, these clothes feel special. First, they just had so much technical finesse—they were so much fun to examine individually–but taken together, they made a demented and fabulous statement, to me, about the escapist potential of preppy clothes. Browne has tried these sorts of conceptual clothes before—his show almost always has a little framing narrative like this one, and since he started showing in Paris, almost all of his collections have had these “consider the lobster”Massive quantities of garments and fabric sculpture gowns. The armholes freeze your limbs across your chest like a mummified Irving Penn figure. These were executed on a different level. (You could see Browne marveling at it backstage.

thom browne spring 2022

Thom Browne.

thom browne spring 2022

Thom Browne.

Womenswear just doesn’t have the political playground that menswear does (maybe the closest thing we have to the Thom Browne men’s skirt is a pussy hat, and no thank you to that). As I was staring at all these ridiculous clothes, I thought: What if we started to look at escapism differently? I don’t see beauty as a way of distracting us from the world’s crises. That would be impossible. But rather, as beauty to distract from the daily grind. And we saw clothing not simply as a solution to make life easier or just slightly prettier, which is what womenswear has mostly been about lately—but also as a possibility to slip, even just for a few hours, into the exquisite and ridiculous? Imagine if you could get into one of these Thom Browne machines to feel free from the gyres of athleisure, TikTok trend forecasting and tasteful minimalist separates. And feel like you are in a world of pure freak fashion. And what if wearing one of those nobly quirky suits—or even just the shrunken jacket or the pleated skirt in crazy mismatched fabrics, almost the feminist answer to what Tom Wolfe deemed “go to hell” pants—could give you a bit of that feeling? It was an invitation to experiment.

thom browne spring 2022

Thom Browne.

thom browne spring 2022

Thom Browne.

A lot of American designers have gone into existential explorations about what American fashion is in the midst of the Costume Institute’s two-parter on the subject. The second half, with its attendant gala, opens on Monday, and of course Browne’s partner, Andrew Bolton, is the curator in charge. Nearly all of the designers who have done this have spoken about American sportswear’s language, something almost quaint. Browne brushed that off backstage—it’s tailoring that really brings him joy. Preppy clothes are America’s bimbo-sphinx fashion. They are loaded with messages about power, elitism, but they are so easy to wear, so wearable, and sometimes so silly and even stupid. They allow the wearer to experiment with colors and patterns. These clothes are truly inspiring style, which is a great American trait. Browne was the first to show me their weird underbelly.

This content was created and maintained by a third-party and imported onto this page in order to allow users to provide their email addresses. Piano.io may contain additional information about similar content.

Source link

Previous articleStylish pooches ace fashion show at Odyssey Mall
Next articleBack-to-School Fashion Takes Over Downtown at ‘Struttin’ on Commerce’ event

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here