Thom Browne‘s Spring/Summer 2023 Paris Fashion Week runway show was a spectacle, merging baroque with polka dots, and Renaissance references with androgynous suiting, resulting in unadulterated Browne madness. But for Pre-Fall 2023, the lauded designer takes a subdued approach at first glance — it’s only when you look deeper that you find the expected joy within the clothes this season.

Silhouettes are quintessentially Browne: formal but injected with flair. PF23’s opening number is dominated by a double-breasted padded wool coat, served up in the designer’s grey tone with suiting setting the look off underneath. This sets the narrative for much of what’s to come; cabin crew and sailor attitudes are expressed via slim-fitting, shoulder-accentuating double-breasted blazers and box-pleated gored skirts, later transforming into various iterations of this uniform.

But looking deeper, we find that the nautical references come alive in the form of bags shaped like ships, zip-neck sweaters adorned with sailing boats, and the House’s signature dog bag turning into a sort of mermaid-seal hybrid bag. More blatantly, nautical shades of blue (varying to depict the depths of the sea) create layered patchwork pieces and puffy scarves, while a standout intarsia wool coat sees sperm whales dominate the vast oceanic scape adorned with little ship sketches.

Such nautical cues also inform a new array of tweed sets, working everything from outerwear to tops, trousers to the signature dog silhouette bag, while the story of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick comes to life (as it has throughout the collection) in full, as our eyes land and awe over a white double-breasted coat covered in intricate, detailed sketches of life at sea — addressing both its beauty and danger.

Such drama is concluded at the end of the collection with a somber return to black, showing that Browne doesn’t need to rely on bold colors to make his beautiful silhouettes sing. Take a look at Thom Browne’s Pre-Fall 2023 collection above.

Elsewhere, be sure to check out RTA PF23.
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