Thien Le - fall/winter 2003

“Launching the men’s line instantly meant double the work.”

For anyone who knows how many hours go into even the simplest Thien Le dress, the above statement carries a lot of gravity. Thien Le’s Fall 2003 collection is yet another chance for unbelievers to realize that the designer is in fact a master tailor of the highest order.

The men’s navy pinstripe wool suits are impeccably cut and the fit is absolutely stellar. Any component would work well as a separate, notably the pants. Simplicity is key, as Thien explains. “I try to keep the shape simple and target the customer. I’m not trying to create any trends.” The crisp, white button-down shirts look straightforward at first, but a closer look reveals they are laden with details like shark-gill ventilation slits held together with tiny crimson filaments. The outerwear rocks in its own muted way with pieces like the grey wool chevron jacket. The button-down charcoal peacoat puts on official airs with its neat taper. This line is for the strong, silent type.

The business look is equally stunning for women, with the navy pinstripes flaring a little at the hems. There is a fantastic outfit in the pink lace top and grey wool riding shorts-can Thien dream a silhouette out of any material, or what? Pink makes another cameo in a spicy jersey top with a cardiac cutout, and a snazzy urban biker jacket rebels in bright crimson. Again, details make the difference in the black wool cashmere topstitched pants. Some of the jackets transgress traditional outerwear applications, such as the grey wool knit jacket with a slender, fluid melt. Thien’s evening oeuvre, while not getting the focus it did in past seasons, still managed to surprise with a few eclectic red plaid numbers.

Image consultant Linda Gaylard was head over heels with what she saw, no doubt anxious to get her clients into the new threads.

“I absolutely love it. Thien Le is very saleable. To top it off, his tailoring expertise allowed him to launch his first men’s wear line from an advanced point.”

While Thien’s adorable Maltese poodles Needle and Thread pounced on him after the show, he clarified a few things on the topic of quality control.

“I try to keep the price-point down, even though everything is hand-crafted. Every piece in the collection still has to pass through my hands before getting the final approval.”

“Thien Le is still a one-man business.”

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer