Proenza Schouler is always intriguing in that Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez tend to take something well known and splice it into something entirely different. Spring 2013 evolves from color-blocked pieces of perforated leather to conclude in a collage of random photos found on Tumblr, literally marrying technological advancements with satin dress designs. And the results isn’t always pretty, but it is mesmerizing to watch. It is also eye-catching as hell. The journey in between is a patchwork of the two: solid perforated leather gives way to quilted leather blocks which then snakes its way into “bias-cut chiffon dresses” which winds into enthralling swirls and eddies about pieces of black lace. The final set of looks finds a way to combine a bit of everything, incorporating the digital print with geometric blocking. All of which is then perforated with grommets and little satin discs of matching color. The overall collection is unbelievably complex and uniquely striking. And I don’t know any other design who could pull something like this off without coming across as highly bizarre.
The Proenza Schouler boys (I know that they are all grown up now, but still!) are pushing design boundaries with this collection, crafting together something coolly avant garde. They have graduated from those chicly collegiate days with the tie-dye hair and the midriff barring surf gear, and I have certainly enjoyed the journey. This feels oddly like modern art to me (probably in the loosest sense because hell if I know anything at all about modern art) driven by the world we currently live in. And in the end, this collection is “perversely chic” (Hamish Bowles) with its uniquely modern references and beautifully parsed pieces.