NYFW A/W ‘11 Report: Proenza Schouler

17 February 2011

The room was a cavernous warehouse on the West Side Highway. With concrete floors and pillars hung with naked fluorescent bulbs, the venue hinted at something more urban and raw than the polished fluoro suits and dresses of last season.

Jack Mc Collough and Lazarro Hernandez, the duo that are Proenza Schouler, are steadily consolidating ground as New York’s most wanted fashion show ticket. A look is evolving that, season by season, completes the picture of who they are and rounds out the offering of NY Fashion week in a uniquely exciting way. Theirs is a youthful sophistication with an urban edge and a very modern ease, laced with understated glamour.

For winter it was all about the print and jacquard knit which softened into jewel coloured devore velvet  dresses for evening. At first the motif looked like a computer generated pixellation: in perfect keeping with the gritty surroundings. But as the models came out it was clear there was something more homespun and human at the heart of this collection. The repeating geometry of the traditional American quilt was the dominant inspiration. And something that had at first seemed machine generated and cool felt, by contrast, hand made and heart felt.

Solid black wool jackets, with a fit that had an almost frock coat flare were styled over bright silk or metallic t shirts and printed wrap skirts or loose trousers. Jacquard knit sweaters and draped skirts took on the repeating geometric motifs and it was fascinating how a head to toe riot of repeating mathematical patterns  actually softened into something very simple and almost minimal when looked at as one piece. It was also intriguing how the aesthetic of the high tech and the homespun could be more closely related than you’d ever have expected.

There was lots to think about in this show, but more important, lots to wear.

- Paula Reed


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