There comes a point during every Fashion Week when we hit the proverbial wall, and I’ll admit that I hit mine — hard — around midday on Wednesday. When the collections all started blurring together, I thought the only antidote would be a full night’s sleep and a lengthy break from social media. But as it turns out, all that I needed to feel reinvigorated was to sit down and watch another show, namely the experimental, highly memorable fall offering from Proenza Schouler. Its healing effects were instantaneous.
After over a decade in business, designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have staked their claim as the arbiters of downtown cool, but perennial "It" factor aside, they've also proven their impressive range and creativity. The collection began with ladylike tweeds, but done up in unconventional ways, like an off-the-shoulder crop top with a tie back and a very low-cut dress with a slashed skirt. Next came the outerwear (often with the same swingy, slashed bottoms) which was a strong element of the show. Coats in tweed, calf and felt featured strips of fabric that wrapped at the waist like a robe, as well as some that hung open from the lapels and moved as the models walked. No matter what the fabrication, they were cut slim and close to the body.
The duo also turned the sex factor way up for fall. A series of curve-hugging knit dresses with cutouts that zigzagged down the bodice were worn over the designers' take on fishnet stockings, and lots of deep-V necklines and exposed shoulder tops revealed a good amount of skin. While the body-con dresses played up and showed off the female form, a single male model walked the runway (Jelle Haen, wearing a long, black Swakara fur coat) adding an aspect of mysterious androgyny.
Amidst all of the newness, there were plenty familiar elements. For instance, the designers showed new plays on the pleated skirts that were the standouts of the spring 2014 collection, as well as the woven, fringed heels that were introduced for pre-fall 2015. The cleanly tailored white crepe dresses also felt quintessentially Proenza.
The finale looks, amorphous cut-out tops, skirts and dresses in sheer chiffon — all embroidered with shiny grommets, sequins and feathers — were the stuff editorial and red carpet dreams are made of, and easily rank among the most innovative pieces we've seen this week. Yes, there was a lot happening here, but all of it was just so good.
See the full collection below.