Monday, January 19, 2015

BEAUTY: Clothing--Moncler Gamme Bleu

Thom Browne really knows how to work an inspiration. For his own eponymous label or when he is designing, as we see here, for the venerable ski wear company Moncler Gamme Bleu, he is able take a single note and riff, without becoming monotonous. But what I think is so interesting about Thom Browne as a designer is how he sets limits for himself with his themes. Whereas someone like Galliano uses themes and inspirations as a springboard to fantasize, to work with tangents, to pull more and more in, Browne uses themes almost as a challenge to constrict himself and to see what he can create while working within his self-imposed limitations, much like modern artist Matthew Barney's series "Drawing Restraint."

In the past, Browne has created memorable collections for Moncler Gamme Bleu within the confines of the racing uniform and the fencing uniform. So for this Fall-Winter '15-'16 collection shown at Milano Moda Uomo, Browne worked within the motif of the jockey and the graphic stripes and checks (and its permutations in the form of herlequin diamonds and chevrons) seen on jockey uniforms at horse tracks the world over. It is interesting to think of the jockey uniform being, well, uniform: interesting especially when one thinks of how varied uniforms can be within professions or groups.

These jockey looks came in three distinct colorways: neutrals (lovely silvery greys, sables, camels, and champagnes), blue/white/red, and white and black for evening wear. But the show started with each colorway coming out dressed in a solid jacket and white pants, as a disguise. A dramatic lighting effect signaled each model, in goggles and jockey cap, to take off their jackets and rip off their side-snap trousers to reveal their creations underneath (watch the engaging performance in the video below). It seems Browne's combinations, despite the single theme, are endless. He can riff on one note all night...

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