Thom Browne: the art of the seersucker

Thom Browne chooses the seersucker as the protagonist fabric of the spring summer 2020 collection

«My first seersucker outfit dates back to the childhood years. This is my first summer dress, which my mother bought for me and my brothers. Since then it has always been part of my life […] of my ‘summer life’. I approach in a purely conceptual way to all the classical ideas that I explore […] and the seersucker was the vehicle for my exploration of 18th century aesthetics. “

Nostalgia, memory, tenderness. A childhood dress that does not cease to remind us of the first contact with clothing, the first sensation of the fabric on the skin, the range of emotions that arose from it. Thom Browne talk about seersucker as a vehicle of images, a material in which to shape its visions, a tool with which to translate the language of the past into the aesthetics of the present. THE cotton threads in the warp of this fabric, sewn with different tensions, they give the surface a curled appearance, as of wave, of lightness – the fluidity of the milk and the granularity of the sugar, already contained in the etymology of the original word in Urdu, shir (milk) shakar (sugar).

For the collection spring summer 2020, the designer chooses the seersucker to approach the eighteenth-century splendor a contemporary fit, molding the fabric on the archaic forms of a pannier. In so doing, the same material that dressed the offspring of the American Ivy League is now the uniform of one Maria Antonietta neo-Gothic with dark circles of peony pink eyeshadow, walking in a secret garden of fountains that ooze liquid cotton. The characteristic light gray combined with the whitish hue of the semolina flour is replaced by poudré and pastel colors of a Versailles rococo: lemon yellow, cyclamen, mint green, strawberry pink, some hints of navy blue, hints of gold and subtle crimson veins.

There malleability of the fabric lends itself to multiple silhouettes and designs: the pleated skirt, the bustier with applied patches, the livery jacket, the silk blend dress, the Bermuda trousers – there is the detail of the hair cap, which explodes in a striped bouquet vertical. The embroidery is aquatic, one naval symbolism with rudders, sailing ships and dolphins – a game of echoes in which the passion of Thom Browne for the abyss recalls the emblematic noble title of Marie Antoinette: the dolphin.

The simplicity of the seersucker has changed from Thom Browne in a glitz of robe à la polonaise, and the comfort of the fabric is put at the service of the rigid silhouettes corset. In this season, tailoring approaches couture resulting in one ready to wear collection which, for the designer, represents the culmination of a creative exploration, the mix between his mental imagination and the needs of a woman who wants to dress like a queen. “My job is to make people think »says Thom Browne. And we think and rethink its microcosm of beauty out of time, which transforms the soul’s strings into thin threads of seersucker.

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