Thom Browne, like the rest of us, is living in uncertainty in the early months of 2022, not knowing when or where he will perform in February of that year.

His pre-fall collection, he believes, was one of his most intimate yet, since it let visitors inside his bedroom, or at the very least into his bedroom’s décor.

One of his most fabulously beautiful pieces, the celadon green and air force blue handpainted floral wallpaper from his new Upper East Side town house, served as inspiration for everything from the embroideries on shrunken jackets to the mother-of-pearl inlay on the spectator platforms.

According to his customary standards, his combination of checks and plaids, intarsias and embroideries was flawless, and his color sense, which combined tonal greens and blues, was particularly stunning. House slippers in floral patterns and a purse featuring Hector in his pajamas further enhanced the collection’s charming domesticity, maybe hinting at a move into the home sector in the near future.

He also made headlines for reinventing the iconic unstructured tweed lady suit of yesteryear, creating a shrunken salt-and-pepper tweed jacket, topcoat, and pleated skirt that could compete with Coco Chanel’s best-dressed-woman ensemble.

“It’s almost something to become known for,” he stated sarcastically, igniting speculation about what he may be able to accomplish at a European cultural site. He doesn’t need it, given that Zegna, the company’s parent, is now publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. It doesn’t get much bigger than that in terms of star power. And commerce has been booming.

It’s no surprise that his accessories are getting better and better, as evidenced by the numerous variations on the duck boot — including a shearling-lined loafer and a mary jane with cable-textured rubber soles — and the introduction of new bag shapes, such as the pillow-clutch with gold chain handle.

It is only by softening his esthetic that it becomes more appealing; thus, his Type A tailoring was tempered with a luxurious pale gray shearling jacket featuring four wooly stripes down each sleeve, rumpled shirtdresses in the layering mix, a lobster-dotted drawstring skirt and nostalgic preppy intarsia cardigan, as well as charming Fair Isle sweaters with bird motifs, among other things.

Numerous pieces from this season’s collection could easily be worn outside of the Thom Browne dream world since they are just fantastic pieces of clothing.

Thom Browne Pre-Fall 202

That said, there are few designers who have created such a recognizable brand universe from scratch (surely it will have real estate in Decentraland someday), and Browne never takes himself too seriously, walking the line between preppy and surreal this season with an amusing crustacean fascination. Besides being a laugh riot, his armor-like lobster tail skirt and matching pincer mittens could be the best things yet to ensure stylish social distancing in this pandemic era. Beware the claw!


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