Thom Browne’s inaugural couture collection debuts at the Palais Garnier. Elements of classic american sportswear filtered through the lens of couture. For one night only,  two thousand two-dimensional onlookers in Thom Browne uniform filled the auditorium. In a handmade self tipped grey wool suit, a solo passenger wanders into the train station veiled in grey. Two porters in roped  shoulder jackets and pleated skirts follow, carrying her silk frame, pebbled leather luggage. 

Time materializes as bells in cloche hats with reflective eyewear sway through the halls. Draped in three dimensional trompe l’oeil wool tailoring fused with rounded tweed silhouettes made up of seersucker tulle, grosgrain ribbon, mélange pouf yarn, and sheer organza lace. With every step, a chime echoes throughout  the theater. 

Passengers enter in fully canvassed coats and tailoring accented with aquatic iconography of crustaceans,  lighthouses, ropes, and anchors. among them a mermaid covered in gold bullion scales, a cluster of starfish with an overlay of lunéville hand-hooked beads and sequins, and a clam nestled among alternating  straight and cross grain panels of silk satin. Latex trompe l’oeil shirt-and-tie leotards, socks, and opera gloves are layered beneath their surreal bodies. In tortoiseshell platform heels they walk across the station platform clutching soft accessories, oversized Mr. Thom and Hector Bags, and new Bermuda Bags. 

With silk-cotton thread feathers on display, the pigeons tiptoe in beaded, sequin encrusted dresses, molded jacket skirts, and brogue platforms. The gargoyles follow in embroidered coat dresses wrapped in  trompe l’oeil body silk drapes. 

The conductor emerges in a full-length, mixed tweed trench with hand embroidered grey and gold bullion thread. With oversized collar and epaulets, the conical shape draws on each passenger with embroidered whales, turtles, seashells, and even Hector gazing at a gilded bell. 

At last, covered in transparent beadwork, the train arrives in a sheer white dress that trails ten feet behind. Modeled on the quintessential Thom Browne suit, her shoulder pads, tie, and collar are constructed with layers of tulle and organza for optimal translucence. The protagonist and train cross paths. Looking back at each other if only for a second, before, fading into grey…