Thien Le - spring/summer 2004

If punk brides had nothing to wear to their wedding before Thien Le revealed his Spring 2004 collection, they had more than they could choose from shortly thereafter.

I pity the girl who has to pick between the immaculate satin suits done up in volleys of cream ribbon, in either jacquard or pinstripe perfection. Le complicates matters with even more irresistible options in brilliant white. Layered chiffon and cream lace dresses hang loose with shredded organza, a tweak that Paul Smith used to funk up his spring wares for 2004.

The bias-cut is ever so slightly less pronounced, as we were soon to find out in the library of Toronto’s majestic Casa Loma. The double-breasted suit-jackets are deceptively business-like, except for the flowering effect Le strikes with the collars. Snug options in floral jacquard are colourful anomalies in the predominantly white dreamscape.

Shocking, really, to see the tougher side of Thien Le come out in a collection of soft silhouettes. The duality gets even more exciting with a lace blouse designed to showcase the tummy. I don’t know what to make of the button-up blouse with scooped-out sleeves, except to say that it’s in line with Le’s new direction.

The denim has an odd shine to it, and it’s not surprising to see Le gravitate to eclectic fabrics. The result of using zipper and lace on the denim pants is pure dynamite, and hints at a fetish for subversion. Le’s bias cut comes back with a vengeance in the denim zipper skirt, a deluxe piece that’s bound to be a collector item before the decade’s out.

Hark ye, bridesmaids, the camera’s going to love you. White silk chiffon sequined gowns look like they’ll melt with the first exposure to water. Simplicity is the key here, with frills and accessories relegated to the sidelines. Embedded grommets mock the treacly romantic without destroying it, yet another new manifestation of the designer’s gifts.

The twenty-first century bride is graceful, but with a hitch…there’s no way she’s walking down the aisle without her grommets, or with two sleeves, or with any conventionality at all. And chances are, she’ll be wearing Capri pants under that gown.

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer