With his witty designs and stitch-perfect tailoring, Thom Browne is the symbolic headmaster of men’s (and menswear-inspired) couture. So it’s a no-brainer that he scored top honors at the 2017 Couture Council Luncheon, which kicked off New York Fashion Week at Lincoln Center earlier today. Presided over by a panel of fashion cognoscenti including Suzy Menkes, Hamish Bowles, and Glenda Bailey, the ceremony benefited The Museum at FIT, New York’s only museum dedicated exclusively to fashion. And while the event might have been scholastic in theme, Browne himself set a decidedly unpretentious tone. “I’m the furthest thing from a fashion historian,” he told us.
While Browne may be known for his Oxford-chic style, his legacy is just as much about cheekily defying rules (he did, after all, show up to the luncheon in his trademark dressy shorts). As the queen of sartorial rule-breaking, the event’s host Whoopi Goldberg fulfilled her duties in peak form – wearing a custom Thom Brown floral tunic, red head-dress, and bold black lip.
“[We met] at one of my shows,” says Browne of his and Goldberg’s friendship. “She’s just an icon. She represents what couture is, which is the highest quality, in who she is as a person.” And apparently, the feeling between the unlikely pair is mutual:“This man brings joy. He brings innovation. He brings the idea that you must be an individual and that you must stand for something…I am here because you inspire,” the View cohost told the audience.
Goldberg wasn’t the only certified icon in attendance: Martha Stewart, seated with Browne and Bowles, was there to offer her own brand of refined rebelliousness. “Oh no, I wore white yesterday,” she says when asked about the age-old post-Labor Day convention. “White shoes. And the magazines are showing white shoes. Everyone is doing it!”
So what did Goldberg think of the latest promo for Martha’s VH1 cooking show, Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, in which the co-hosts recreated a scene from Goldberg’s Oscar-winning film Ghost? “I have not heard a word from her, but I’ll see her and I’ll ask her. Demi Moore hasn’t contacted me either,” Stewart jokes. “That’s a good idea, thank you.”
Main image: Thom Browne and Whoopi Goldberg (Photo credit: Zach Hilty, BFA)