Thom Browne Fall 2024 Couture | Runway
Fall 2024 Couture

Photo: Umberto Fratini /

The Thom Browne invitation today was an atelier coat in natural muslin, with the brand logo on the back and our names spelled out in cursive on the front left pocket. We were asked to wear them to the show, and it’s a testament to the kind of devotion that Browne breeds that so many of us did, despite the heat of the June afternoon.

Muslin, the plain cotton fabric that couture toiles, or samples, are constructed from, was the subject of Browne’s couture collection. A perfectionist of the first order, he’s the last designer you’d expect to lift the curtain on the construction process. In fact, at a preview the day before the show, he admitted to a bout of second guessing. “We kind of questioned, ‘are we sure we’re doing this?’ We love finishing things and perfecting things.”

No surprise, his 48 works-in-progress were meticulously worked, all the way down to the hand-basted stitches between two layers of horsehair on the lapel of a jacket. And all the way up to the 11,000 hours and 42 men working around a table it took to achieve the variegated gold beading of a rouleau button-front fitted jacket and pencil skirt.

Browne used six different weights of muslin here, choosing the right one for different techniques: light for the frayed strips woven into tweed or stacked into the millefeuille layers decorating the sides of a coatdress, and heavier for the blown-up deconstructed tailoring. Even the yarn used for an open work knitted cardigan was made from muslin wrapped around wire.

Half-way down the runway the models paused, striking poses or twirling for the house camera with an embroidery sampler “mask” in front of their face, their chalky white outfits an almost exact match for the limestone walls of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and their “hair” carved into the curls of ancient statuary. There are always many layers to a Thom Browne show. Given the imminent Olympics, this one had a sportive gloss by way of the gold bullion embroideries of athletes on an hourglass jacket and a bustier dress displaying the muscular system in blood-red beads on one side and pleated and tucked muslin on the other. Capping the proceedings off were a trio of fully embroidered jackets in bronze, silver, and gold.

The collection made you consider the connections between elite athletes and couture’s petite mains. The point, Browne said, was to show “the beauty of the hand, rather than a machine.” As the AI age begins, it’s a lesson that bears repeating.

This article was originally published on Vogue Runway. 

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