Black and White & Browne
Stylish Swedish garage punks The Hives have traded in their Vegas lounge act look and are channeling Thom Browne for their latest effort, *The Black and White Album*. We call it a marked improvement, especially as they've eschewed Browne's signature high-water trouserings. The crested boating blazers and striped school ties worn to good effect on the album cover and in the video for the first single, “Tick Tick Boom” are straight out of Browne's much-ballyhooed Black Fleece collection for Brooks Brothers. And though he's hardly the first designer to employ such motifs, Browne certainly does it better than most (from the waist up, anyway). His morning coat in boiled wool with white grosgrain trim might not fly off the shelves at $2,900, but it's a good way to take the Hives look haute.
While we're on the subject, Brooks seems a little schizophrenic in its treatment of the “youthful and modern” collection, especially online. At times it's as if they're purposely sabotaging the thing. For instance, wouldn't the Hives make a much better soundtrack for the Black Fleece runway show than the easy-listening Kenny G. crap they've got on there now? It's unwatchable with the sound on, not to mention a little too evocative of bad porn—especially since they've included footage of guys taking their (high-water) pants off. Time for a re-think, fellas….
- Jared Paul Stern