There are great designers in New York but never quite so many that break properly new ground in the same, brave way that Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough do at Proenza Schouler. The Proenza woman is now less sporty and flirty, more business-ready and when the mood strikes, daring.
Today's show was an exemplary lesson in how the duo put their fine technical skills to work for a complicated, mood-changing female in the current climate: these two can do austere, 1940s-tinged rationed minimalism without ever verging on safe, classic or predictable, but they can also provide opulence by the bucket load.
This collection felt like it had many segments to it and when you hear that the designers were influenced from various New York School artists (hence the Whitney Museum showspace) that makes sense. From sculptors (seen in the form-fitting mélange suiting and excess loops Japanese datejime belting) through to abstract painters (think stratchy lined prints and almost brushstroke-like panels).
Asymmetric body-con felt surprisingly easy to wear – even if it was in double layered bandages and sliced and cut out here and there across the body – perhaps the weight of the fabrics chosen made it feel less slinky, more sturdy. And the evening wear - which in comparison to your usual after dark garb felt pretty damn feisty in sheer monochrome or striking red chiffons with jumbo dotted eyelets and feathered trims for decoration. Crystals were not the menu. Add these hardware-laden to something soft and see through with oversized fishnets tights peeking out from underneath and you have yourself an outfit that no one else at the party would be wearing – not because it’s not fabulous, but because it’s so much more than a safe LBD.
[Jason Lloyd Evans]