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Thom Browne's '20s flappers misbehave at library
Thom Browne got the party started at NY library with flappers and mermaid gown _ with fins
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) ' If you've ever fantasized about misbehaving in the library, Thom Browne is your guy.

The designer presented his spring collection Monday in the hallowed halls of the New York Public Library. But this was no study hall. It wasn't a typical fashion show, either.

Entering a spacious room graced by massive chandeliers, one chanced upon a living room, vaguely '20s-style.

Five models were frozen in place. One, in long feathery garb, was locked in a bird cage. Another, on a couch, wore a shimmery sequined mermaid gown ' with fins. Two women in bathing caps and long gray and white skirts graced a deco-style bar, ready to pour champagne, or perhaps martinis. Another was perched high atop a lifeguard chair.

The audience whispered its confusion. Was this all there was? Then a hostess came in to start the party. She cranked up an old phonograph. Cole Porter tunes filled the room.

Gradually the party blossomed. The 20-odd guests ' all women ' wore clothes with both a '20s flapper feel and a futuristic accent. Shades of gray and white gave way to black, red, navy and lots of bright yellow. Stripes, thick and thin, were everywhere.

Browne likes jackets, and here he played with shoulders, exaggerating them so they looked at times like stylish space suits. He also played with lengths. A trouser would begin at mid-thigh. Or a schoolgirl plaid skirt with suspenders would begin below the knees, the derriere covered by something completely unrelated.

There were fringes galore ' on dresses, coats and hems. Skirts were often long and flouncy. One had whimsical sailboat appliques. Virtually everyone wore sunglasses.

In an interview on the sidelines, Browne said he'd been inspired by silent movies and flappers ' but also by today's youth, who, for example, play with the height of their own trousers.

Who would want to wear these designs? "A really confident, interesting woman who understands wanting to be an individual ' and understands real tailoring," he said. "But also someone who wants to have fun."

Perhaps even to misbehave in a library ' to Porter's "Let's Misbehave."

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