A year in fashion is a long time. Fifty of them an eternity. We're fickle beasts, us sapiens, one day drooling over a UPS T-shirt only to untag ourselves in any photo featuring the item once its bubble's burst. Pandering to our crowd of ingrates is challenging, and over the last half-century, luxury retailer Browns hasn't just risen to it, but embraced it, carving out a space in a crowded market as the savant that knows the cool brands and the cool clothes before the actual cool kids do. Now it's celebrating its 50th year sticking to what it knows with the release of nine limited edition capsule collections for men.
There's a line with ascendant homegrown designer, Craig Green. There's one with Casablanca, the of-the-moment cult label that puts Quentin Crisp in a Colin Tilley music video. And then there's Parisian heavyweight Givenchy: a legacy label enjoying a resurgence thanks to the recent appointment of Alyx's Matthew Williams as creative director. That's quite the line-up, and it's one bolstered by appearances from Edward Crutchley, Maison Margiela, Kiko Kostadinov, Visvim, Canada Goose and Virgil Abloh's brainchild Off-White. The best bit: you won't find any of this stuff anywhere else.
After first launching in 1970, Browns has gone from boutique to a global brand – no mean feat, especially when retailers can so often have their personality drowned out by the product it stocks. Still, it sits pretty close to what its founder, Joan Burstein, set out to do all those years ago: "My aim was to establish a boutique that created an atmosphere that would capture our customers' imaginations," she says in an official release. "I also wanted to source individual and timeless pieces from all over the world that would become their personal treasures." Step into any store, and the Aladdin's Cave ambience is almost palpable. It's a very minimalist, pared-back, futuristic Aladdin's Cave, granted, but an Aladdin's Cave nonetheless.
All of the pieces are to be made available online from today, and are limited to very small stock runs. So that means you move quick, or wait another till the inevitable centenary bash.
Happy birthday, Browns. Happy birthday to you too.
Available online at brownsfashion.com/uk
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