Man versus Machine: Thom Browne in Interview for Spring/Summer 2015
Step backstage at Paris Fashion Week for a rare chance to hear one of the principal menswear architects of his generation, Thom Browne, put his latest collection into his own words. Taking inspiration from the iconic 1982 film Tron and modern notions of interactive video game avatars, the collection pits lightsaber-wielding marching robots against an enclosure of besuited motionless humans. Browne articulates the seated models as his classic menswear ideal, embodying his normal refined aesthetic, while the patrolling robotic figures (guardians or jailers?) pointed to a more aggressive and thoroughly avant-garde vision of his universe. As the collection proceeds, this line is blurred further—as if to allude to the patrolling machines that steadily became more human, gradually becoming avatars for their seated and inanimate counterparts.
In a direct reference to the cybernetic circuit board costumes that traced the physical forms of the characters in Tron, the increasingly cyborg-like models are climatically rendered to recall musculature and human anatomy. More than a mere reflection on anatomic forms, the jackets and pants leave their humanity behind. Shoulders are cut and open in slashes, twisting up into pointed robotic angles and layered forms; the muscled shapes building on the surface of the jackets hint at surviving a dystopian future and the need for armor and defense.
But this was a Thom Browne presentation, so any sense of the collection being a straight-up representation of futurism are subverted through the use of tweeds and seersuckers, creating suiting that recalls less the clean digital future depicted in Tron, but a more mutated, more frenetic universe purely of Browne’s imagination.