Thom Browne holds "teddy talk" for toy-inspired Autumn Winter 2022 collection


Model in a teddy bear top hat

American fashion designer Thom Browne's Autumn Winter 2022 show in New York City was an ode to toys and featured sculptural tailoring and an audience of 500 teddy bears.

The show, which took place on 30 April at New York City's Javits Center, saw the second floor of the convention centre turned into a conceptual "adult toy shop."

Image of a model wearing grey tailoring walking down the Thom Browne runway
The first half of the show presented "adults" wearing classic tailoring

The staging included a set of oversized grey painted doors and a "teddy talk", a pun on the TED Talk conferences, which was attended by toy bears.

At the centre of the show space, the audience of 500 custom Thom Browne teddy bears were placed across a raised platform.

Thom Browne's Autumn Winter show featured both classic and surreal designs

The stuffed bears were oriented toward a model, or "chairbear," and Browne's show notes read: "Welcome to my teddy talk."

The show was divided into two parts, with the first 24 looks attributed to versions of Browne's classic tailoring – dubbed the "adult" versions of their soon-to-be revealed counterparts.

A model at the Thome Browne show is wearing a jacket with stuffed lobster claws
The second half featured looks that were conceptualised takes on the first half of the show

"The chairbear’s favorite New Yorkers first came to the toy shop looking for their true selves," said Thom Browne.

"Today, they find them. The adults enter the toy shop in tweed tailoring, classic and play-like."

A model is pictured wear a grey tweed jacket which looks as though it is melting
Amorphous and mutated silhouettes were crafted from heritage fabrics

The second part of the show and its 24 designs were conceptualised and dramatised doubles of the first looks and featured swollen, manipulated and surreal forms.

"The bears burst into cheer as the adults meet their lost toy selves. childhood memories are brought to life in unexpected proportions – among them, a spiral of paper dolls, a jumbled Rubik's cube, a rocket ready for take-off," the show notes said.

The collection symbolises New York as "an island of misfit toys" where people can find and create themselves, Browne told fashion magazine Vogue.

Throughout the show, models showcased new takes on Browne's signature grey suiting, which was here embellished in Mogador jacquard piping and panelling in collegiate tones of blue, red, white, green and gold.

A model wears a jacket that was inspired by an etch-a-sketch at the Thom Browne Autumn Winter 2022 show
The collection was inspired by toys

Handcrafted cashmere knits, heritage fabrics and tweed were layered and paired with platform lace-up boots, with those worn by the toy-like conceptual characters featuring children's alphabet block platforms that spelled "Thom Browne".

A patchwork grey oversized coat with stuffed lobster claw sleeves was followed by a model clad in a mutated and swollen version of a black and white tweed coat.

Model wears teddybear hat at Thom Browne show
Teddy bear designs were a theme throughout the show

Another model's upper body was bound by what Browne termed "a trompe l'oeil etch-a-sketch box coat," layered with a striped  flared skirt that created a resemblance to a life-sized nutcracker toy.

Browne is an American fashion designer who has become best known for his modernisation and reconceptualisation of classic suiting and tailoring.

Browne's works from his Spring Summer 2017 collection were displayed in the Costume Institute's Spring 2019 show Camp: Notes on Fashion.

During Paris' 2021 Couture Week, fashion designer Iris Van Herpen drew on the "indescribable beauty" of the planet for her Earthrise collection.

Photography is courtesy of Thom Browne.

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