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New York Fashion Week Fall 2012 review: Proenza Schouler's fight club

February 17, 2012 |  8:57 am



There was a lot of talk at the end of New York Fashion Week about how derivative some of the New York collections were. It's true that many of the runway shows were reminiscent of what was shown on the European runways in the recent past, particularly at Celine, where Paris designer Phoebe Philo started the color-blocking and sleek tailoring trend several seasons ago. Which raises the question: Where was the newness?

When it comes to fashion innovation, Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez never disappoint. Their collection, with its outsized proportions and unique fabrications, was a thrill ride.

They explored the idea of protection with tough-looking, oversize jackets in white cotton pique, black leather or quilted nylon. Fencing, karate, judo and other fight sports inspired the silhouettes and the padded details, while handicrafts from Bhutan (where the designers recently traveled) inspired the colorful basket-weave leather jackets. Proenzacollage2

The fronts of plastic-y, lacquered lace tunics, or leather-front sweaters with side zippers, were tucked into hip-slung miniskirts (some made from plastic beads) or wide-legged trousers.

For evening, the designers picked up on the week's Asian inspiration but in a wholly new way -- showing minidresses in collage-y brocades. For accessories, there were some seriously tough-looking boots (especially the knee-high versions) and a new structured handbag shape with top handles, almost like a doctor's bag.  

It was a strong, confident statement from the designers. How many of the runway pieces actually get produced and end up in stores will be interesting to see. (A separate, more basic showroom collection is also available.) But the influence, especially of the oversize silhouette, should reverberate for seasons to come. Which is why, in New York, Proenza Schouler is always one to watch.

-- Booth Moore in New York

Photos: Models walk the runway Wednesday at the Proenza Schouler fall 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. Credit: by Seth Wenig / Associated Press except top middle and right by Peter Michael Dills / Getty Images.