Everyone’s favourite Dad, David Harbour, is the latest man to join the men in skirts movement after the Stranger Things and Black Widow star appeared in the new Thom Browne (our other favourite daddy) Fall 21 campaign, Welcome Home.
Harbour’s fashion debut, where he appears alongside artist Anh Doung, recreates the uncanny stillness of Grant Wood’s 1930 painting American Gothic (among other famous American pastoral scenes). It’s a setting that’s perfectly suited to Browne’s monochromatic eeriness that pervades his clothing. There’s no other designer that makes tailored precision look as sinister as does Thom Browne. It’s also perfectly matched by Harbour’s natural intensity, a gift courtesy of a deep-set bone structure that makes his face look like it’s been carved in stone. In comparison, Doung possesses all the detached serenity of a Sybil.
It’s lush, it’s indulgent and it’s immediately apparent that this is talking to an idyllic existence that few are able to possess – the country estate (the campaign was shot on historic home Teviotdale in Lilithgo, New York) time devoted to leisurely pursuits. Not a mask in sight. What’s not to love about this fantasy?
For his part, Harbour’s never been one to flirt with fashion. There’s even a running joke across social media that the 46-year-old only has bare maximum three t-shirts in his closet. Some would argue this makes him an odd choice for a designer known for creating items that are as much a spectacle as they are something to be worn.
According to Browne that’s the point. In a statement about the campaign, Browne says that Harbour and Doung were chosen precisely because of this sense of individuality that isn’t tied to what preconceived ideas of fashion are.
Which leads us to the skirt. There’s no pretending that this isn’t having a major moment in menswear right now. Browne has long been a campaigner for the leg-revealing piece for men. At Givenchy, the kilt was given a rave review (rave as in hedonist dance party and positive critical reception. Words are fun.) when then creative-director Riccardo Tisci created a neo-noir version of the kilt styled over tailored trousers. It appeared in the collections of Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton while the likes of Jean-Paul Gaultier and Rick Owens practically invented the genre of skirts for men. But seeing David Harbour in one – a man who fits the build of the most stereotypical notions of “masculine” right down to the dad bod is a revelation.
Harbour’s appearance in a campaign of Browne’s aesthetic is also a powerful message of who exactly fashion is “for”. Brands can often fall into the trap of nature’s green is gold – that youth is better than old age. While Browne isn’t the first designer to bring in non-models (Givenchy featured Marina Abramovic; Prada has consistently used actors and artists including Willem Dafoe and Gary Oldman and recently Saint Laurent has featured the likes of Keanu Reeves and Joni Mitchell) Harbour’s presence has additional importance because, to be frank, the man is built like someone who would rather have a beer at the pub and throws the weights around only when he has the time ie like the majority of us. And fashion is notoriously known for not catering to body shapes beyond the lithe and lean, especially when it comes to men.
So for someone who is currently in the middle of some major lockdown-spread, the Thom Browne campaign is a balm to my fashion-hungry scone-binging soul.