Since launching his bespoke menswear line in 2001, actor-turned-designer Thom Browne has pretty much changed the face – make that inseam length - of men’s fashion, with everyone from Marc Jacobs to YSL to his former employer, Ralph Lauren, now showing suits shrunken to schoolboy proportions, with wrists and sockless ankles exposed and trousers hiked high above the waist, 1950’s nerdlinger-style.
Browne’s efforts to inch the menswear industry into the 21st century (albeit by looking backward) were rewarded with a 2006 CFDA award for Menswear Designer of the Year and a gig designing Brooks Brothers' just-launched Black Fleece label of unisex separates and suiting, with the hope that Browne’s geek chic appeal will lift Bro-Bro (aka, America’s oldest surviving menswear retailer) from its decades-long doldrums and inject the brand with some much-needed sex appeal. Or, rather, style appeal, as most folks outfitted in Browne’s supremely structured, buttoned-up garments don’t much look like the sort who’d enjoy taking off said garments to have actual s-e-x.
The Fashion Informer queried the charmingly low-key Browne while he was in the midst of designing a men’s jewelry line for Harry Winston and putting the finishing touches on his eponymous spring 2008 ready-to-wear collection, which is likely to be yet another past perfect paean reworked for the here and now.
What's your favorite book?
If you had to choose one song to listen to for the rest of your life, what song would you choose?
Mahler's 5th Symphony Adagietto.
What did you eat for lunch today?
Tuna salad on white toast.
What is it about the aesthetic of the 1950s/60s that appeals to you so much?
This is when there was a true American sensibility. It was a time when the Europeans and others looked to the US for style.
What's the biggest difference between designing your own line and designing for Brooks Brothers' Black Fleece?
They both start from the same, classical place, but for Black Fleece, my responsibility is to be true to Brooks Brothers. For my own collection, I can be provocative.
What's your favorite getaway spot and why?
Any place where I can be by myself.
Who's your favorite traveling companion?
I travel a lot with Miki [his publicist].
Ocean or mountains?
Preferred mode of transportation?
How do you survive NYC summers?
Wearing my seersucker suit.
What music do you play while designing, or do you work in total silence?
I work in total silence.
What's your favorite historic monument?
The Vendome Column in Place Vendome in Paris. I like staying at The Ritz, and it's so beautiful when you walk out of the hotel.
What was your favorite subject in junior high school?
When are you happiest?
When I'm working.
Stay tuned next week for Random Questions For…John Bartlett
Photos of Thom Browne collection courtesy of Thom Browne. Brooks Brothers Black Fleece photos courtesy of Brooks Brothers.