Thom Browne, two-time winner and current nominee of the CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year, joined Washington Post contributor Robin Givhan as the final installment of the Fashion Talks series at the French Institute Alliance Française last night. Browne, known for his uniformity and modern proportions spoke on his beginnings, the idea of both masculinity and femininity, his influences and more, below.
On his professional beginnings:
Browne, known for his offset proportion of men’s suiting, began with five suits, all of which he wore and promoted every day. His passion for his now famous ensembles came from the ill-fitting suits and casual
wear that clothed the businessmen of Wall Street , which “wasn’t addressing the young guy.” His goal: to introduce a new proportion to suiting with a level of unmatched quality and create “tailored clothing that was interesting.”
On masculinity, femininity and sexy:
Browne’s definition of masculinity and femininity come down to one thing: confidence. He believes that suiting for both men and women, give the person a certain level of confidence that he thinks no other genre of clothing can do. For men, “being able to try different things, I think that’s masculine,” he said, adding that he find a covered up woman more sexy than bearing skin.
On his influence:
Browne made the point that although there are a distinct group of themes in his presentations and clothes, “my references are never literal.” He went on to say that he most of his inspirations and influence comes from movies and more visually stimulating sources, rather than books. Browne said he particularly appreciated Stanley Kubrick’s (famed director of such movies as 2001: A Space Odyssey) characters because they always seemed to be in a downward spiral, adding that he finds inspiration and appreciates imperfections because “perfection is boring.”
On his team:
Anyone in the audience could spot the Thom Browne team in the crowd, all sitting together with the impeccably tailored suits with the red, white and blue ribbons adorning the back of their collars. Browne made sure to credit his team and say that his awards are not just showing his success as a designer, but the success of his entire team.
On his award nominations:
Browne said he felt very honored to have two CFDA Trova’s for his menswear collections, saying that “any designer that sustains a business should get an award.”