Proenza Schouler Says Goodbye and Hello

·Writer

Jack McCullough and Lazaro Hernandez, the designers behind Proenza Schouler, have called New York home since their Parsons senior thesis was famously bought by Barneys back in 2002. After 15 years showing in New York City, the designers will be heading to Paris next season, leaving the city without one of its most creative design duos.

Their fall 2017 collection was a nod to the past and perhaps a window on the future. As an homage to New York’s no-wave past –kids that were a little bit punk but still liked to get down and boogie–the collection had a distinct punk vibe without the usual trappings (mohawks, studs, ripped pants, safety pins etc). The model Cleo Cwiek sporting a buzzcut, opened the show in a long black coat with multiple straps hanging from it, worn over pink trousers and flat two-toned shoes with a pointy heel. The attitude very much being: I got somewhere to go!

A wrap dress in shiny black leather–or was it rubber? –hinted at a bondage feel without feeling like some Fifty Shades of Grey school project, especially when it appeared again the show, this time done in pink. Since the beginning coats have always been one of Proenza Schouler’s strengths, and there were a few styles that referenced coats from earlier collections. A single button jacket with a huge zipper with a long pull from which you can almost make out PROENZA SCHOULER’S blocky letter logo, will surely become a fashion editor favorite. Let the fight begin for who will photograph it first.

As the show progressed it was like traveling forward in time. The model Lexi Boling came out in an asymmetrical white turtleneck worn underneath a black tunic with a circular cutout at the waist, piped in shiny silver, and paired with a gauzy skirt. It was both a throwback to the futuristic Mod sensibility, but also it just looked cool! Mica Arganaraz’s look in asymmetrical black tee with white squiggly lines, worn with a pleated black and white skirt evoked Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” era— when maybe Basquiat himself drew a squiggle on her shirt! But it also had a hint of a future road warrior, fashioning clothes out of whatever’s available as one travels through a post-apocalyptic world. You know, very now.

By the time the last dress came out— a laser cut black dress that looked like an enlarged version of their painted jeans from Fall 2009, worn under a white asymmetrical dress— it felt like we were all in a rocket ship to whatever planet will be able to sustain human life.

And while the collection was not actually their “Greatest Hits,” (the designers are far too innovative for reruns), it did feel like there were hidden odes to some of the best moments of their impressive careers. We can’ wait to see what the future has in store for Proenza Schouler. Anywhere they go, we will follow.

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