Thom Browne Makes Lamar Johnson Feel Strong

On February 14, Valentine’s Day, Thom Browne premiered his Fall/Winter 2023 collection as only Thom Browne can.

Inspired by the inimitable French children’s book The Little Prince, Browne’s FW23 runway show took place as part of an ethereal performance piece wherein models became the novella’s characters and planets, preceding the conceptual clothing itself.

And, then, Browne dashed out at the end to hand his husband, curator at The Met Andrew Bolton, a box of chocolates. Aww.

Among the stylish crowd in attendance — which included Browne devotees like Erykah Badu, Lil Nas X,Pusha T, Whoopi Goldberg, and Teyana Taylor — was young actor Lamar Johnson. The 28-year-old actor is perhaps now best-known for taking center stage in the unforgettable fifth episode of HBO’s The Last of Us (no spoilers here), but to know Lamar as Henry is to only partially know Lamar.

See, like you and I, Johnson has deep, deep love for Thom Browne. Unlike you or I, Johnson has long worn Thom Browne tailoring to red carpet premieres.

Johnson began sporting bespoke Browne suits to the Toronto International Film Festival premieres of films that he’s starred in 2018, first The Hate U Give and then 2022’s Brother.

“That was the first time I was truly introduced to [Thom Browne,] though I was familiar prior,” he tells Highsnobiety. “It’s been a consistent theme that I lean toward Thom for premieres. You want to make sure you step out feeling good in your clothes.”

“I love the cutting of his suits — Thom just fits me so well off the rack. His suits make me feel sophisticated, stylish, chic. They make me feel strong.”

This was Johnson’s first time seeing Thom present a collection in-person. In fact, it’s one of the first times he’s had a first-hand Thom Browne experience in New York, as the Toronto-born actor is typically fitted for his bespoke Browne at the local flagship store, rather than Browne’s NYC atelier.

“[The show] was amazing, fantastic,” Johnson enthuses. “There was a full narrative and experience to the show. He really married the story with the fashion.”

With his VIP gift in tow (a deconstructed sweater-bag), Johnson is heading back to Toronto with big city (well, bigger city) dreams. But those dreams will become reality soon: Johnson’s planning a move to the Big Apple.

Thom Browne’s signature suits are the stuff of special occasions, to be sure, but Johnson also appreciates their versatility.

There are so many ways to style Thom,” he says. You can get that classic tailoring or those more fashion-forward looks. Like, I’ll swap out a dress shirt for an unexpected tank top or wear shorts with the suit, like I did at a Golden Globes Party in 2019.”

Was that a deliberate homage to Browne, who’s made the shorts-and-suit part of his uniform?

“What can I say, I’m just a fan of Thom,” Johnson laughs. “I love his work.”

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