The headwear that Thom Browne showed during his Autumn/Winter presentation in January could be considered cute, teamed with those sombre grey suits. Designed by Stephen Jones, the masks and hats—fashioned out of suiting fabrics into animal heads—may not have been Looney Tunes-adorable, but they were sure able to put a smile on your face the way Porky and co could. In fact, you could almost hear Mr Jones mouthing Bugs Bunny: “Eeeeeeh, watch me paste that pathetic palooka with a powerful, pachydermous, percussion pitch!” While cuteness derived from a cartoonish representation of known creatures may have a place in women’s wear, they have a less sound position in a man’s wardrobe (and we’re not talking about those of guys who have just RODed from NS and weaned on UTs). This is why when the cute appears on shirts, it may not necessarily win hearts.
Just as we were wondering how Mr Browne will sell his take on the world of Simba and friends, out comes this button-down shirt with repeated patterns of rabbits aleaping. Everything about this shirt speaks of the tailoring one associates with business shirts, but it is hard to imagine a CFO wanting to wear this to witness the signing of an acquisition. Yet, the shirt is not without its charm: the bunnies centrally placed within a grid have the orderliness of pattern as in a classic plaid, but with just a tad more fun. Why keep leporid lovability only to your socks?
Thom Browne’s designs are not always easy to understand. On the racks, his clothes look simple enough to wear (even when his signature shirts are usually in heat-unfriendly heavy Oxfords), but on the catwalk, they’re more suited for showroom dummies than walking mannequins. Yet, Mr Browne continues to win all-round plaudits of the critics. Let him do the weird stuff on stage, just send the good stuff to the store.
Thom Browne bunny-print shirt, SGD1060, is available at Club 21, Four Seasons Hotel