Monday, June 20, 2016

BEAUTY: Clothing--Thom Browne for Moncler Gamme Bleu

"I like the entertainment value," Thom Browne said of his SS '17 collection for French outdoor sportswear company Moncler Gamme Bleu shown at Milano Moda Uomo. And a Browne show always has a theatrical, entertaining factor. Take for instance, his ode to Depression-era decay where models time traveled through mirrors (here), his scarecrows-in-kimonos in a Japanese tea garden (here), his spooky all-black funeral procession (here), or his gloriously moody take on the Scottish Highlands for Moncler (here).

Browne has a marvelous mix of American and European sensibility which allows him to riff spectacularly on a motif or a theme. And no one riffs as long as Thom Browne (save, perhaps, Dolce and Gabbanna who regularly send out looks numbering in the 80s/90s or even 100s for a single collection). For this fun, tongue-in-cheek collection, Browne looked to Scouting and that uniquely American creation, Smokey the Bear for the inspiration for his forty variations on a single scouting uniform. Considering that Moncler started in 1952 with a very limited product range--quilted sleeping bags, a single model of cagoule, and tents--Browne brought the brand home with this tour of basic utilitarian pieces. But of course utilitarian is a relative term with Browne who put cargo pockets everywhere, including on socks, the backs of jackets (where the wearer cannot possibly access them) and, hilariously, in a mushroom-like proliferation all over outerwear! The tan palette was eased with the addition of dark olive, dark navy, and a plaid of all these colors.

But back to the theatrics: it was a fun, silly romp with two Smokey the Bears coming out to douse a campfire (safety first!) and he;ping each individual model in front of a tent out of a quilted sleeping bag outer cover for them to take a spin around the catwalk and then back to their own tents to bed down for the night!

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