Despite all the talk of fast fashion and ready-to-buy, some designers still luxuriate in time. At Proenza Schouler, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez had relished a full seven months in the build up to their SS17 collection, visiting foreign ateliers and throwing a collage of ideas around to come up with a show that, despite its eclectic influences — African print, Japanese weaving and cutting techniques, Calder sculptures and the odd marble Bernini limb print — held together with surprising cogency.
The boys make a good argument for letting things happen in their own sweet time. And this was a collection that employed rarefied talents and needed percolation. A sweater featuring a cut-out heart had been inspired by a John Currin painting of his wife Rachel Feinstein. The designers had asked his permission to produce their own homage. The ostrich-feather trims, each attached individually by hand, had been undertaken by a couture atelier in Paris.
The designers had travelled to Japan to find a loom that could weave tiny strips of paper leather into shiny separates. While they were there, they had experimented with layered rectangles of fabric to create an asymmetric, bouncy skirt. McCollough wanted to play with a shorter length this season but hadn’t wanted to do a mini. The resulting lengths were nicely proportioned.
It was also colourful. Summer black has been a big theme in New York, and it was nice to see some bright primaries pop along the catwalk. For all its artisanal focus, the collection felt young and clubby and dynamic. Special mention, too, for the paper leather coats-cum-skirts, a nice twist on the season’s big question of how to wear your trenchcoat.
This season, the designers had switched their show slot from late evening to lunchtime. From being an end-of-day highlight, the show has shifted into a slightly more sedate position in the schedule. Less fan-girl, more grown-up, and the show was perhaps a little less impactful at that hour. Regardless: the clothes looked better by daylight.