Duality. That was the most obvious subtext to be gleaned from Thom Browne's Fall 2015 collection that found itself taking a cue from the Macabre with it's Morosely Beautiful inspiration of Mourning clothes that was provoked by the Met's Fashion Exhibition, "Death Becomes Her" which was a Sartorial and Intellectual analysis of the way Women had dressed through the 19th and early 20th Centuries to Mourn and address Death and Loss. Potent Material, to be sure!
But aside from the most apparent idea of Grieving... Fashionably so, there was the deeper and more provocative context of Duality. One could recognize it immediately, the Contrapunctal nature of all the Models dressed in Black against a throng of Pale, Wan, Models all dressed in White... The rumination of Life and Death, Light and Dark, Grieving and Celebration, it provoked more thought than the collections inspiration of clothes derived from such a Perverse Influence, Death being that Idee Fixe. Browne continued to skew the perception of what was transpiring by taking his own stylistic tropes and rendering them obsolete! Browne has a Penchant for Obstinately tricky and Elaborate clothes... more Art than Fashion. Here, Browne looked like a Couturier of Immense Caliber with his Exquisitely Wrought pieces that defied the paradigm of what we have come to expect from Browne! Not only were the clothes Incredibly wearable... They were Astoundingly Rich and Ornate and Luxuriant! Everything was a Masterpiece of Execution and Flawless cut!
Though the Theatrics are worth mentioning, for they compel the whole vision of the collections Inward and Outward Dichotomy, It's of less importance than the way the clothes spoke on the subject, The opening though, was the Key to the Dual nature of the collection, Models on gurneys, bathed in light, as if the models coming round the Labyrinthine set were either identifying the body of a dead loved one, or as it appeared, a Messiah in Black raising the dead... One could look at it in a totally different light and take it like "Maleficent" raising Aurora from her Deep sleep with a Loving touch instead of a Kiss as proposed by the recent Angelina Jolie/Disney movie... That Death and Love are two constants that can never be eliminated in this world. Grief from Death can only be measured when Love is part of the Equation, truth be told.
How ever much we plumb these Esoteric depths, the clothes themselves have to be the focus. Browne even quite pointedly played on Duality in outfits that mixed Long with Short all at the same time, Layering one on the other or combining something Long with something more Brief, as well in the Contradiction of Staggeringly Extravagant and Complexly detailed and embellished pieces with others of such Monastic Asceticism that they bordered on Anodyne! But all these pieces showcased Browne's Technique for all it's worth... A Short Black Wool jacket trimmed in Fur with a Double-breasted Tweed Skirt suit underneath trimmed in Beads that looked like Black Pearls was brief and Sensual, but Strict! A Quirky layering of Three Jackets atop one another was finished off with a Finger Breaking jacket that was embellished with tight whorls of Black Ribbon and Green/Black iridescent Feathers all encrusted onto it! The Most Stunning impression in the whole of the show... Exit No. 12. An unadorned Black Sheath dress that communicated Mourning and Class in One, Sublime, Fell Swoop!
Browne placed his finger squarely over Button of a rather disconcerting Fashion debate. How exactly can the glorification of the dress of Mourning still be Celebratory and Exciting? It's too delicate a subject to properly address here, but Browne showed that when you shine a light onto a Terse Concept, Beauty can still be wrought from it. This was certainly a Subject with Provocation deep in it's bones, But the Deft and Gorgeous way Browne sounded his voice in the conversation bordered on Brilliant and for a ever so Fleeting Moment, ignited a Spark in one's imagination... Oft times, all that is needed is a Spark to start a Wildfire!