Where do I begin … to describe Proenza Schouler’s experimental new look for autumn/winter? The only place to start is where the two boys behind the label, Jack McCullough and Lazaro Hernandez, themselves began – and that was with paper aeroplanes.
The concept of folding paper to make ‘planes started them thinking about clothes without seams and that led to the pieces which eventually took to the catwalk at New York Fashion Week.
What looked like a properly-tailored khaki coat, matching jacket and waistcoat, for example, was actually one 20-metre piece of cloth folded and re-folded to create the three-in-one garment, basically constructed without seams. The same process was used in evening wear, the folded fabric approach making simple shifts with floating ‘wings’.
The collection was all about ‘stripping away’, McCullough explained. Thus, there was no decoration, seams, when they had to be used, were kept to a minimum and, at times, sections of a garment were sliced away to reveal the interior linings. It was not just the patterns which were radical. High-tech fabric processes included Latex-injected lace and super-embossed embroidery and sequins to create 3-D textural effects.
For all the apparent laboratory techniques, however, this was no work-in-progress. The clothes – coats, jackets, wrapover fisherman pants, curved short skirts and ‘winged’ shifts – were infinitely wearable.
The palette was largely muted – olive, dull green, navy wine, black, grey, taupe and mustard – but hectic tights in purple, orange, emerald and red, with deliberately clashing stack-heel shoes, added carnival colour.
There was a delicious marriage of the unexpected, too – an emerging trend at these new York shows – where ‘trousers’ in gold or purple sequins or taffeta would be paired with grey or khaki wool coats; and shaggy ‘yeti’ coats with beaded organza skirts.
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