Janet Jackson Talks Thom Browne, Paris, and Her Most Iconic Y2K Look

The reliably fashion-forward Janet Jackson arrived at Thom Browne’s spring 2023 show wearing a look that deftly mixed masucline and femine prep codes. The academy-ready ensemble was a natural progression of what Jackson does best. She’s been blurring and mixing traditional gender boundaries for decades now: That boxy oversized blazer she wore in “When I Think Of You;” Her form-fitting “Rhythm Nation” military garb; A leather bandeau paired with baggy jeans at the 1993 VMAs. “Even when I was a kid, I loved wearing the suits and the ties and the bow ties,” Jackson says. “I was very much so a tomboy and I still am at this stage in my life.”

Thom Browne has become a reliable go-to for Miss Jackson at this stage of her life. The singer affectionately calls him “Thom Up,” a nod to the designer’s ability to consistently elevate and innovate. She wore a knockout look by Browne, which included a dramatic top hat that operated as a clever callback to Jackson’s The Velvet Rope tour, at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards.

Jackson, 56, says the process of putting together a look with Browne is effortless. For her appearance at Browne’s Paris Fashion Week show, Jackson says she told the celebrated designer, “What I was looking for: that I wanted to wear one of his incredible hats, how I wanted my shirt to be, that I wanted to wear one of his school boy jackets and a skirt. He basically took it from there and boy, did he take it.” Trust and understanding seems to be a key part of their relationship. “I’m paraphrasing but in a nutshell he was like, ‘I got you. Let me send something over.’ And that really was it… He truly is a genius.”

The final product was a beautiful marriage of Jackson and Thom Browne’s signature aesthetics. Jackson wore an expertly cut and tailored skirt suit, a towering beehive-esque hairdo, platform heels, and a Wall Street-ready leather tote.

Jackson says she was happy to return to Paris—a city that holds special meaning to her—for Browne and Louis Vuitton’s respective shows. When asked about her favorite experiences in the City of Lights, she responds, “I have two memories of Paris. My memory of being here the very first time, I was fourteen years old. I remember falling in love with [the city] immediately. I was here with my sister, La Toya, she was on a promo tour for one of her projects and my mother. That’s when I knew I wanted to come back to Paris and that I was going to come back to Paris. It was just as beautiful then as it is today.”

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