Fashion designer Thom Browne has presented his collaboration with Italian textile brand Frette as part of a sleep-themed performance during Milan design week 2024.

Browne’s Time to Sleep performance took place inside the neoclassical Palazzina Appiani in Milan’s Parco Sempione on Tuesday 16 April.

Thom Browne’s Time to Sleep performance took place in Milan’s neoclassical Palazzina Appiani

The 19th-century Napoleonic building’s upper-level salon provided the setting for the show, which revolved around six identical beds made with fine cotton sateen sheets from the American designer’s Frette collection.

“Browne has identified Palazzina Appiani, a succinct representation of neoclassicism, as an unlikely venue for a nap,” said the artist’s statement. “An immediate dialogue emerges between the generous proportions of the hall of honour and six simple mid-century cots.”

Six identical beds placed in a row inside a decorative salon
Six identical beds were placed in a row inside the building’s decorative upper-floor salon

The beds were placed in a row in the highly decorative but otherwise empty room, until a bell chimed and six models in underwear entered one by one and took their spots beside their respective beds.

Another bell signaled them to begin dressing in grey Thom Browne uniforms, before two more models fixed their ties and straightened their shirts.

A model wearing a Thom Browne suits walks between the beds
Before the performance, models wearing Thom Browne suits took turns walking between the mid-century beds

Once properly dressed, the six sat on their beds, had custom eye masks placed over their heads, then laid down for a nap.

The soundtrack included music that referenced sleeping, including Once Upon a Dream from Sleeping Beauty and Johannes Brahms’ Wiegenlied (Lullaby).

Six models wearing underwear stood beside their respective beds
Six models wearing underwear entered one by one and stood beside their respective beds

“The performance brings to life the collaboration and serves as a continuation of Thom’s interest in the intersection of art, fashion design and storytelling,” said the artist’s statement.

Browne’s partner collection with 160-year-old brand Frette includes duvet and sheet sets and towels, all embroidered with the brand’s recognisable four-bar insignia.

Grey wool-cashmere blankets, throws and cushions feature the same trademark stripes, while a light grey, yarn-dyed cotton velour bath robe is based on the silhouette of a Thom Browne trench coat.

Also available are gym towels and a beach bag made from soft terry cotton in white.

Models dressing in Thom Browne uniforms
At the chime of a bell, the models began dressing in Thom Browne uniforms before laying down to take a nap

Browne began his eponymous brand in 2001, and Time to Sleep marked his debut event during Milan’s annual design week.

It follows a long tradition of art performances that the company has staged at architecturally significant locations, including London’s V&A Museum and New York’s Cooper Hewitt, MoMA and Met museums.

Close-up of Thom Browne's bedding collaboration with Frette
The performance marked the debut of Thom Browne’s collaboration with Italian textile brand Frette, which includes a collection of bedding, garments and accessories

“Browne’s past works have included performance art and hand-made sculptures; architecture and proportion are often a key element in his fashion practice,” the statement said.

The designer also hosted a “teddy talk” for his toy-inspired Autumn Winter 2022 collection in New York, while mid-century offices formed a reference for his first store in San Francisco by ASA Studio Albanese.

The photography is courtesy of Thom Browne.

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