Thom Browne | Couture 2024 Collection

Toile as the Final Garment: The Olympics of Fashion

Written by

Emma Raff

Photographed by

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On the runway, bodies are adorned with fabric, shimmering, patterned, contoured, and flawless. Fabric is eye-catching, the only step of the constructive process that the spectator will see, yet, underneath, there are often layers upon layers of materials that contribute to the look’s final form. The fashion design process begins with a prototype of a plain-woven, cotton fabric: muslin. This simple material was the basis and inspiration behind Thom Browne’s Women’s and Men’s Couture 2024 Collection, presented in Paris on June 24 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. 

Several spectators arrived in custom muslin smocks, while VIP guests including Emma Chamberlain, Serena Williams, Will Poulter, and Molly Gordon sat front row alongside Anna Wintour, dressed to the nines. 

Alluding to the approach of the 2024 Paris Olympics, the show began with a game of tug-of-war. Sixteen athletes draped in white cotton pulled at a thick, braided rope, their “coach” watching from the sidelines wearing a towering gold leaf crown. The runway cleared, and the models began their slow procession down the muslin-wrought path at the center of the hall, the walls lined with muslin columns, everything and every garment draped in white. 

Since its creation in 2001, Thom Browne’s performative, conceptual runway shows have attained global recognition, and the Couture 2024 Collection was no exception. A perfected work-in-progress, the looks were made from untreated muslin, differing in weight depending on the desired shape, the construction process ripped open and exposed: hook-and-eye closures, raw edges, stitching, chest canvassing turned inside out. 

Oversized cardigans were created from muslin strips, individually stitched to metallic threads, and then knit by hand. Each model carried an embroidery sampler “mask,” and many of the looks replicated athletic silhouettes capturing the fierce grace of the archer, the javelinist, and the wrestler. To culminate, three models dressed in jackets of bronze, silver, and gold sequins took their place on the grand podium at the end of the runway to the sound of tumultous applause.

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Thom Brown, Paris Fashion Week, Couture 2024 Collection, fashion, runway, Emma Raff