For our final Designer Dogs feature of 2019, Minnie Muse sat down with Hector Browne, the four-year-old Wirehaired Dachshund belonging to American designer Thom Browne and curator Andrew Bolton. A ceremonial figurehead and iconic mascot of his father’s brand, Minnie Muse was eager to discuss Hector’s day-to-day routine, which 20th century design objects he favors for a snooze, how he feels about being immortalized as a handbag, and which world-famous athlete he deems his style icon. Read more from our latest fantasy interview with Hector Browne below…
Owner(s): Thom Browne and Andrew Bolton
Breed: Wirehaired Dachshund
Instagram Handle: @hectorbrowne
Instagram Followers: 11.6k
Minnie Muse: Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us, Hector. Tell me first, where do you live?
Hector Browne: I live in uptown Manhattan, but spend most of my days with my dad, designer Thom Browne, at his studio in the Garment District.
MM: It sounds like you have a busy work schedule, where and when do you sleep?
HB: At home I have two sets of custom dog beds made from my favorite materials that we switch out depending on the season: grey flannel in the winter, and pastel blue and white seersucker for summer. Still, nothing compares to curling up on classic 20th century design. Pieces by Jacques Adnet, Edward Wormley, Pierre Jeanneret and Paul McCobb are my favorites for a quick snooze.
MM: And what about when you are at the studio?
HB: I like to cuddle up in a miniature version of dad’s Trompe L’oeil Classic Suit Sleeping Bag. It is warm, cozy and the suit motif makes me feel extra fancy.
MM: Do you go to and from work in a dog carrier? Or do you have a favorite bag?
HB: The Thom Browne Hector bag, of course. The hound-shaped style is modeled – and named – after me, and has become a signature of the house. It is so popular that dad introduces new fabrications and colors each season. The beaver version is eerily similar to my black and tan coat.
MM: And what about a dog leash or collar?
HB: Sometimes around the studio I wear a grey necktie, but I never leave home without my Thom Browne black calf leather collar and matching dog leash with gold-tone hardware. I prefer exploring Manhattan by foot.
MM: Do you have a favorite walking companion?
HB: My other dad, Andrew Bolton - Head Curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute – of course! I am so lucky to have two wildly creative and accomplished father figures. They make for hard shoes to fill.
MM: Speaking of shoes, are you one for footwear?
HB: I have a set of silver wingtip brogues that I wear on special occasions. They were inspired by a project my dad did in 2016 at the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York City for their Selects series. The installation included more than 50 of the museum’s historic mirrors and frames, as well as a metal desk and chair from dad’s personal collection, and four-dozen pairs of Thom Browne brogues dipped in nickel.
MM: It sounds like you have a deep appreciation for thoughtful design; do you have a favorite building or architect?
HB: I fell in love with Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut the moment I visited the property. Built between 1948 and 1949, the structure is an icon of modern American architecture, while its plush grounds are beautifully kept and perfect for running around. In 2018, dad staged a shoot at the house to introduce his Golf capsule collection. Being on set with him and playing with the models and crew is a memory I will never forget.
MM: Do you have a favorite toy?
HB: Much like my dad, I love animal motifs, especially sea-dwelling creatures. My favorite toy is a plush octopus I carry around the studio. It is almost as big as I am, not to mention its tentacles are perfect for a friendly game of tug-of-war.
MM: When you’re not at the studio, where is your ideal vacation spot?
HB: My favorite place to unwind following show season or MET Gala madness is Lake Como in Northern Italy.
MM: Como sounds like a beautiful and delicious place to relax; is Italian your favorite cuisine?
HB: I die and go to puppy heaven for a classic American cheeseburger, but my favorite meal is a club sandwich and french fries from the Claridge’s hotel in London.
MM: Do you have a favorite restaurant in New York City?
HB: I love ‘power lunching’ at The Grill in the Seagram Building in Midtown Manhattan. Formerly known as The Four Seasons, the restaurant’s interior was designed by architects Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson in 1959, and has remained largely unchanged ever since. Today, the Grill Room’s walnut paneling and metal curtains are considered icons of 20th century design.
MM: Do you favor a dog bowl or traditional plating?
HB: At home I eat most meals out of a 1920s ceramic bowl designed by Jacques Adnet for Lusca that dad gifted me for my birthday, and lap water from vintage Steuben glassware.
MM: That sounds elegant. Do you have a favorite beverage besides water?
HB: Champagne, of course!
MM: How do you spend your time at home? Do you enjoy watching movies or listening to music?
HB: I love anything Wes Anderson, particularly his 2018 stop-motion-animated film ‘Isle of Dogs.’ His whimsical style is truly unique and reminds me a lot of my dad’s design aesthetic. I also love the music of Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk. She is a true visionary.
MM: That’s quite a contrast, but both great choices. Would you consider yourself more high-tech or old-world?
HB: Definitely the latter. I still write notes and memos using a classic, nickel-plated metal typewriter.
MM: Fascinating. Do you enjoy reading as much as you do writing?
HB: Why yes, I love flipping through all of the catalogues that my dad [Andrew Bolton] has published for the Costume Institute’s spring exhibitions, but I am particularly partial to the one from ‘Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.’ The exhibition addressed how fashion designers have explored the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear, not to mention, it was his first show as Chief Curator of the Costume Institute after his predecessor, Harold Koda, retired in 2016.
MM: Have you ever attended the Costume Institute Gala?
HB: I have never been to the Gala, but I always visit my Dad [Andrew Bolton] the evening before the grand opening, as he puts final touches on the exhibition. I love seeing how he blends fashion, art, design, lighting and layout into a cohesive finished product.
MM: Speaking of art, do you have a favorite artist?
HB: I am most drawn to the work of painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell, particularly his figurative depictions of classic 20th century American culture. Dad and I share in our appreciation for the late artist.
MM: It sounds like you and your dad have a lot in common, especially concerning the arts. Do you have any favorite Thom Browne project or installation?
HB: Too many to name, but one thing I am most proud of is the sculpture that he unveiled last week in Miami during Art Basel titled, ‘Palm Tree 1.’ The large-scale palm tree made of yellow, green and pink seersucker, fine corduroy and gingham oxford fabrics was inspired by the tree from dad’s spring/summer 2019 womenswear show in Paris. It relates to a number of narratives that define his runway collections and overall brand, including scale, exaggerated proportions and Americana design.
MM: Given that we are nearing the end of the year, are there any other highlights that come to mind from 2019?
HB: I was very excited for the release of dad’s unisex fragrance collection this past September and it was executed beautifully. Composed of a medley of scents numbered 01 to 06, each one contains a unique spirit and mood that embody the Thom Browne brand. I have a personal fondness for Cucumber 01 or Rose 03 for daytime, and Whiskey 04 or spicy Smoke 05 for the evening.
MM: One final question. Given your fashionable life as a designer’s dog, do you have a personal style icon or someone that inspires you?
HB: Other than my fathers? LeBron James. Not only because he commissioned dad to outfit him and his teammates in coordinating suiting back in 2018 for the NBA finals, but I admire his drive, determination, appreciation for good quality design and, of course, his heavenly stature.