The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) called Thom Browne the Menswear Designer of the Year in 2006, arguably the Oscar or Palme d’Or of fashion. Then, in 2008, GQ agreed. And just in 2013, CFDA decided to throw him another. If history should teach us anything, it’s that once your accolades need their own room in your atelier, you are permitted to take risks – weird ones, during Fashion Week. This year, for his F15 Collection, Browne gave us less a show and more a funereal future, one where the living don black and the dead white.

In one of the Week’s stranger exhibitions, with Nicki Minaj agape in the front row, Browne sent his models down the runway with gender-neutral black veils over their Burtonesque top hats, transcending the dark into the sinister. High-rise lapels barely give the loosened ties breathing room, but it allowed for higher flaps and luxe ticket pockets that often accentuates a well-crafted suit. With the pockets so high (elbows and above), that leaves the remaining fabric to drape down uninterrupted to near-knee level. If families of Civil War casualties had the means — and the Satanism — at that time, they might occupy funerals with F15 Browne swag.

And, now, for the weird shit. Breeches, stockings, Chelsea boots, rail-thin umbrellas, no pants at all, tapered driving gloves, ankle-length dresses — all black and all worn by men. There’s gall in what Browne is doing here, yet his nuanced eye erases any imagined disrespect he may hold for the dead. Even if he manages to upset the departed, they’re still dead, and we’re still looking.

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