Last season, Proenza Schouler’s Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough drew inspiration from the past with a collection that fused tribal and safari by way of sixties Miami resort – for A/W 2012 however, the look was decidedly forward-thinking and straight-up cool. To a vaguely unsettling Yoko Ono soundtrack, oversized asymmetrical ensembles took to the catwalk in pristine white – from the outset it was clear that experimental, unusually proportioned silhouettes were taking precedence over ornamentation, an aesthetic indebted to the overriding inspiration this season, Asia.
Complex Oriental-inspired garments took direction from traditional Japanese and Chinese attire – boxy cuts, vibrant palette of gold, crimson, jade and indigo and intricate embroidery all paying homage to kimonos, Karate gis and cheongsams, but in the most innovative possible way. From structured white cotton looks, the collection quickly moved onto hand-detailed silk-satin and innovatively woven lacquered leather in the form of jackets, flippy skirts and dresses in red and cobalt paired with killer black high-heel boots. Quilted satin bomber jackets coupled with shimmering gold tile skirts were standouts, as were asymmetrical silk shantung skirts worn relaxed and low-key with semi-tucked slouchy t-shirt tops.
It was a beautifully modern and inventive – and, importantly, very wearable – vision, and the audience’s overwhelmingly enthusiastic cheers at the finale proved we were all in agreement – Proenza Schouler are almost singlehandedly responsible for lifting New York Fashion Week out of its commercial shackles each season, giving us all something to get excited about.