“Warrior” immediately came to my mind when watching the Proenza Schouler Fall show. There was something incredibly exhilarating about watching the Proenza Schouler girls stomping down that runway with such a resounding presence and thrilling confidence. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have re-defined traditional Eastern dress and sixties punk in a way that is both startlingly cool and completely modern. What impresses me the most is how these boys are able to revolutionize a centuries’ old technique and rework it into their own aesthetic, rendering their collection utterly unique–and instantly covetable. They constantly surprise me with where their latest road trip will take them next. Their month-long stay in Bhutan and Nepal played rather intriguing role in this latest collection.
While I tend to favor a more tailored silhouette personally, I am rather enamored with the slouchy silhouette the Proenza Schouler boys have going on for Fall 2012. There is a fantastic effortlessness about the volume and artfully haphazard fastening. And the over-sized proportions feel perfectly on point for the season, almost like they are enveloping the wearer in a chic protective layer. Moreover, I love how protective clothing has been re-imagined in their eyes. This is certainly outerwear like I’ve never seen before. Cotton pieces, opening the show, were made sturdier with quilted texture and waffled padding whereas dense brocade and woven leather heavily allude to their Far Eastern influence. It is intriguing how Jack and Laz have fused together elements of the Bhutanese national costume with contemporary pieces; tough biker jackets, tailored peacoats, and collegiate sweatershirts are adapted into an amalgamate of both genres.
In a season that has displayed some rather fantastic monochromatic palettes, Proenza Schouler immediately catches the eye with their geometric prints. And I love how Jack and Laz have chosen to play with texture along with their strong color palette. Leather is perforated and blasted into a roughed-up grittiness while brocade and woven leather have been liberally interspersed throughout the collection, adding another layer of intrigue to their already cool pieces. The embroidered hexagons in the tunic of look 24 for example or the mod pattern seen in look 20 are particular standouts whereas woven leather–found in samurai uniforms–is mixed with metallic paillette into striking miniskirts. While some looks are more overtly “Asian” than others (look 31 definitely comes to mind), Jack and Laz keep things interesting with asymmetrical piping and daring hemlines.
Moreover, there are plenty of sweater/kilt combinations throughout the collection, bringing back the sort of punkish collegiate style that Jack and Laz had started out with way back when. I love how they have a cool collegiate chic feel as a backbone to their line. And while it is always a thrill to see where these boys will go next, the Proenza Schouler girl is always immediately apparent. Jack and Lazaro never lose sight of who they are as designers which makes their imaginative collections all the more exciting. And with that, I am finally onto the London shows!