Thom Browne hosts a ‘Teddy Talk,’ a playful toy-themed show.

The 500 people in the audience were seated in neat rows and had clearly gotten the memo about attire. All were wearing a Thom Browne gray suit.

They were also very quiet because Browne’s Friday evening show was special. It was held in New York, rather than Paris, where he normally stages shows to coincide with Monday’s Met Gala. They were probably stuffed animals.

These were, to be exact, teddy bears seated in small chairs for a motivating “Teddy Talk”

This Browne show was another, and it was more of a performance or theater than a runway show. It had a playful feel, with an unusually lighthearted vibe. Browne, a consummate performer and one of America’s most respected designers, attempted to teach the audience of bears (and humans) how to find one’s true self through his narration script. Browne said that we all have a toy version of ourselves, even though it’s more ridiculous and crazy, that is still worth sharing.

Thom Browne hosts a 'Teddy Talk,' a playful toy-themed show.

How does this high-end concept relate to fashion? Browne is able to answer that question with small, creative engineering feats. His toy-store theme was extended to include countless variations of his classic gray suit, trimmed in brightly colored silks and pleated in whimsical handbags.

The show staged at an airy theater on Manhattan’s west side, opened with two large doors that led to an imaginary shop. A few people entered wearing tweeds and tall stovepipe-shaped hats. It was a 19th-century-inspired look. One group carried a longer “Hector” bag with three handles.

The soundtrack declared, “New York, where it is possible to find yourself.” “A lifelong search and a lifetime of questions… finally answered.” The “Teddy Talk”, was just beginning.

The “head bear”, or speaker, was dressed in a Browne gray flannel suit with a bear-like hat, bear-like shearling gloves, and platform boots. The soundtrack was his accompaniment as he shared his stories with his bear-filled audience about New Yorkers who were lost until they found their true selves.

Thom Browne hosts a 'Teddy Talk,' a playful toy-themed show.

The procession consisted of 25 well-dressed adults in tweeds and flannels, with classic looks brightened by bright colors, such as red, gold, and blue trim or other brighter colors. The hairstyles were dramatic, with topiary-like designs that resembled modern sculptures. The fantasy element was still to come: 25 additional models were added, each one a “toy” version of one of the 25 previous models.

These toys were human toys with splotchy make-up and exaggerated features. They were older-fashioned toys, such as Slinkys or the classic colored alphabet blocks. Every “adult” component was exaggerated, sometimes even blown up to unbelievable proportions. Accessories were especially imaginative, particularly those alphabet-block shoes, literally piles upon blocks that were easier to navigate by female models than the male.

Jon Batiste, a recent Grammy winner, was in the front row in a checked Browne suit and Leslie Odom Jr., actor-musician, in a cream-colored shorts ensemble. Vogue’s Anna Wintour was just three days from the Met Gala, where she is the head of the Met Costume Institute. Andrew Bolton was also the curator of “In America: A Anthology of Fashion,” the exhibit that will be launched at the gala. Browne is also Bolton’s life partner.

Thom Browne hosts a 'Teddy Talk,' a playful toy-themed show.

The culmination was the sartorial storytelling, which saw both adults and their toys return out to face each other and start to talk.

Do you see models talking and laughing on the runway? This may have been the most unusual element. The speaker said at the end, “Finding your true Self.” “Unique. Authentic. Confident. Be confident.