New York Fashion Week: Proenza Schouler


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Midcentury architecture, shiny new cars and suburban bliss meets ticky-tacky, tiki-themed, naugahyde-covered, shag-carpeted rumpus room.

That’s what went through my head watching the Proenza Schouler show, which hinted at some of the hallmarks of the postwar boom, as filtered through a dingy lens.


Current affairs, including the limping economy, high levels of unemployment and a Washington stalemate were the pink elephants in the room during this fashion week, but very few designers addressed them. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez seemed at least to acknowledge that all is not right with the world, by working a pretty-ugly, faux-real theme in mostly grungy colors.

They started with shapely jackets and shorts in dark brown and black patterns that brought to mind cheap wood paneling (in a good way!). An A-line skirt came in the kind of faux-zebra print you’d expect to find on a car seat cover.

It wasn’t ostrich or crocodile but eel skin that was this season’s exotic. A teal-colored, eel-skin wrap skirt was paired with an embroidered floral top. Hawaiian florals were splashed across sarong skirts belted tunics and straight pants, looking beautiful and garish at the same time.

The designers have been dabbling for several seasons now in arts andcrafts, and for this collection, they created several crocheted raffia pieces, including a striped full skirt and polo shirt. Rounding out the thoughtful and clever collection were faux croc print bags and rattan wedge sandals.

And if it sounds like they were a little short on things to really wear, consider this: The tiki head motif on a cropped slate jersey jacket could easily make its way onto more moderately priced T-shirts, and the crocheted raffia could translate well onto bags and such, especially now that contemporary clothing king, Theory Chief Executive Andrew Rosen, has acquired a controlling stake in the Proenza Schouler business.



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--Booth Moore