A Day in Hong Kong with Thom Browne

  • Thom Browne enjoyed a day tour of Hong Kong before meeting and greeting his aficionados at Joyce Central.

    Although it was Browne’s second trip to Hong Kong, this trip proved to be more gratifying than the last.

    “ I had a cold when I came here the first time so didn’t get to see much. This time I finally got to see this amazing city - it’s so vertical, and I didn’t expect it to be so comfortable.”

    First off, he started off his busy day with a local experience— sitting on the street having his classic wing tips polished while catching up with his emails.

    “I’m not a shopper so I love seeing real people doing real things in a city when I’m in a foreign place. The shoe shining experience was very charming, authentic and super quick! I tried to get my haircut at a local barber as well but unfortunately he was busy.”

    Speaking of authenticity, no visitor should leave Hong Kong without being on the star ferry to cross the harbour and absorb the breath taking city skyline. Browne then went to Heritage 1881 for lunch then the Peninsula hotel for a drink. Despite the fact that he is known for his theatrical and dramatic approach in design and presentation, he has a penchant for anything classic and authentic. He explains,

    “People always think of Thom Browne as provocative but aside the show collection, I also design a classic commercial collection, using fabrics that I develop, which I’m very proud of.”

    The contrast that he mentioned is prevalent in the latest autumn winter collection. The collection was inspired by the Amish people of Pennsylvania (made famous from Witness, the 1985 classic), who believe in simple living, plain dress and reluctance to adopt modern technology and conveniences. Heavy padded quilted and mohair jackets with square and rectangular patterns - all derived from the traditional Amish quilts. On the contrary, the collection also contains a glamorous classic blazer in silk jacquard, which was developed in Como, Italy and a classic grey knit sweater from a traditional mill in Ireland, which is Browne’s hometown. He elaborates,

    “My designs are all actually very personal. I came from an Irish family of 7 children and we all used to wear Irish knits, hence it appears in my collections. There are also sports elements in my design because my work is always seen as dramatic; I’d like to ground it to something more understandable to guys. I used to play a lot of sports so that’s an easy reference to guys.”

    It did take Joyce’s customers some time to understand Browne’s design but for a very different reason, he recalls,

    “Joyce is one of my very first customers but the first collection didn’t do very well because I like very heavy construction and fabrics and now I’m here, I understand why! It’s so warm and it’s the end of September! I’m grateful that Joyce sticks with me, appreciates my work and now we are doing very well in Hong Kong.”

    Aficionados were delighted to meet Browne at our in store cocktail reception, discover the mens’ winter collection and enjoy a sneak preview of the Spring Summer 2014 collection. Thom Browne’s womenswear is also now available at Joyce. This tends to attract a new base of female clientele who appreciate classic tailoring with an edge. If you’re new to the Browne’s aesthetics, here are some tips for you from the designer.

    “I’d say start with a couple of suits in different shades of grey accompanied by white shirts, which is what I wear every day, even when I travel. The mohair and fine wool suits pack and hang well, then accessorised with grey ties and a pair of wing tips. But most importantly, just go for what you like!”

    Interview by Lucienne Leung-DaviesVideo by Yuman Ng