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Proenza Schouler's Resort Collection Is a Lively Homage to Cuba

With diplomatic relations with the U.S. recently restored, it's little wonder designers are looking to the island nation for inspiration this season.
A look from Proenza Schouler's resort 2016 collection. Photo: Proenza Schouler

A look from Proenza Schouler's resort 2016 collection. Photo: Proenza Schouler

One half of design duo behind Proenza Schouler is of Cuban descent — Lazaro Hernandez, to be exact — and earlier this year, when diplomatic relations with the U.S. were restored, he and Jack McCollough made a trip to the place of his heritage. While it was admittedly an intense visit (involving meeting members of Hernandez’s family for the very first time), the designers emerged with ample inspiration for their resort collection, which is a lively celebration of the island’s colorful spirit and culture.

The label's fall collection was heavy on the tweed, and it's back for resort — but this time, it's an airy, lightweight version that could easily be confused for raffia from a distance. It was done up in swingy dresses that look ideal for an evening of salsa dancing, complete with ruffles, asymmetric hems and sleeves that fall off the shoulder. Many of them were layered over peek-a-boo bralettes, as if they were thrown on over bathing suits. The Cuban inspiration also came through in a series of crochet dresses in vibrant shades of yellow and green, a lush botanical print and some breezy pleated dresses made from layers of chiffon.

The grommets that decorated the fall collection were incorporated on both the clothing and accessories, including a new pair of flat, slip-on brogues and lace-up sandals with a high wooden heel. The brand introduced a roomy new tote bag for resort — an ideal size for travelers — and the show piece of the season was an intarsia mink coat in a tropical print that had a number of editors in the showroom swooning. While the latter might not be at the top of our packing list for a trip to the Caribbean, those bound for snowier holiday climes will certainly see its appeal.

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Proenza Schouler wasn't the only label to draw chiefly from Cuba this season: Stella McCartney, which showed its resort collection at an outdoor theme party in New York on Monday, was too.