NYFW: PROENZA SCHOULER S/S 2015

We’re down to the last show of the day and the exhaustion is palatable as editors and buyers take their seats for the Proenza Schouler spring/summer 2015 collection. Even the ever-bubbly Suzy Menkes is having difficulty forcing a smile. Anna Wintour looks as though she could devour an intern or two. This is a difficult position in the schedule, one that requires bringing a tremendous amount of creativity and very little nonsense to the runway. Fortunately, creative duo Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez  have been here before and know what they have to do: be spectacular.

Proenza Schouler is about contrasts and this season is no exception. McCollough and Hernandez start with a simple look: black and white checks under a green/black mesh overlay with an off-white skirt. The look is too contemporary to be old-fashioned, but it strikes a cautiously safe tone. The green/black mesh becomes a pair of shorts in the next look, and for the third the colors are reversed with the overlay being a maxi-length dress. This pattern continues with the addition of jackets and long coats for a few more looks. Then, just about the time you think you’re settled and know where this collection is heading, everything takes a hard right turn.

Leather.

Black down one leg, red on the other, with a full length masculine tailored tuxedo style dress coat over all of it. The whole leather thing continues for a while in a variety of styles. Sometimes all black, sometimes all red, and then there’s white. The fabric is at its best when it’s perforated in strategic panels so that the garment doesn’t cause one any unnecessary perspiration. Various dress coats come and go, all masculine styled with looks alternating between pants and skirts. Again, one think’s they’ve established a pattern and start to relax. Then …

Python print.

First it hits as a broad band on a high waist for a black ensemble. Then it’s highlighting accents on a blue skirt and jacket. Next thing you know, it’s on the knee-high boots, then it takes over a full-length dress coat, followed by a skirt, and … Then, it’s gone.

Mesh comes next. Crocheted mesh that’s not too large, not too small, and flows surprisingly well. The mesh works on its own, which is a little daring, but is at its best when paired with a baby blue diamond print. We run through another set of separates, including one very smart looking nautical overcoat, and then we move from mesh to …

Fringe.

Very, very long fringe comes into the picture making skirts and dresses look as though they’ve been run almost half-way through a shredder. The look is surprisingly smart, and surprisingly lean for something that invokes so very much motion. In fact, pretty much the entire collection ends up looking much more lean than one might expect. While the looks are far from being tight or form fitting, the silhouettes follow well enough with the shape of the body to give them impression they are much more lean than they actually are. This is very good news as it means the wearer is likely to appear a bit thinner than she might otherwise.

With so many dramatic shifts in fabrics, and that really is where the majority of variance occurred, no one watching had a chance to go to sleep. Jack and Lazaro gave everyone an additional gift by eliminating the finale walk, which no one really needs any more when the pictures are available by the time one can hail a cab or jump in their town car.

These are smart, wearable looks that are just modern enough to be fresh, but without all the shimmer and glitz that frightens many away. There plenty of pieces here that say, “Look at me, damnit,” but at the same time there are some very lovely looks that are more subdued, for those whose focus is something other than their personal aesthetic.

Proenza Schouler gives us a solid, workable, and wearable line that provides plenty of options for the spring.

Photo credit: Valerio Mezzanotti

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