Proenza Schouler will not go gently into that good night. That is to say, co-creative directors Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez will continue to rage, rage against the dying of the light.
In our precarious times, it can often feel that fashion’s flame is diminishing. The hypersonic trend cycle continues to quell thoughtful consumption in favor of mindless digestion of niche micro aesthetics. Creativity and craftsmanship are repeatedly rejected in favor of high-street knockoffs. The latest phrases on everyone’s lips—quiet luxury—aren’t that of a whisper, but that of a bellowing shout screaming: ’10 ‘Stealth Wealth’ Pieces You Need To Add To Your Wardrobe NOW!’
At New York Fashion Week, the brand proved in their Spring/Summer 2024 collection to be the rebelliously understated antithesis to this minimally pervasive discourse.
As ubiquitous as the label is, this collection proved to be the antidote for consumers immune to artistry. A life lived online is one that is unsusceptible to the merits of deliciously perfected cuts or courageously articulated accents.
So, while scrolling through the virtual panoply of NYFW, it’s understandable why Proenza Schouler’s collection may have felt like just another stab at soft, sleek minimalism. In reality, it was a highly conceptual array of coveted pieces expertly communicating what contemporary women want to wear.
Yes, the suite bears the hallmarks of uptown elegance—in turn, making it synonymous with that aforementioned aesthetic—but the collection subverts these codes for something more surreal and deliciously deconstructed. It’s this deft skill that makes the pieces all that more desirable.
This mode of delectable understated separates was discerned from the offset; a motif continued over 39 looks. The brand’s signature tailoring opened the collection but offered new styling tricks in the form of blazers tucked into carpenter pants and styled with double utilitarian belts.
This paved the way for a suite of draped separates with georgette overlay white crisp cotton to give the effect of crumpled crepe paper. Denim was disruptive in high-octane acid wash bleaches or all-American blue hemlines that stuck out from wool trousers.
Outerwear took form in slick tailored leather that felt very Jil Sander or Helmut Lang in tone.The latter was explicitly referenced in Proenza Schouler’s basketball meshed tank tops à la Spring/Summer 1998 menswear.
Elsewhere, the designers juxtaposed the sumptuousness of premium fabrics—an element so frequently excluded in the discourse about attainable luxury—with sharp creative choices in a prosaic sense.In a slightly twisted way, Proenza Schouler eschewed the prevalence of flashy embroidery and our inherent magpie-ness with a sheer wrap mini skirt accented by jagged embellishments
These pieces felt like a homage to the inventiveness and aptitude of Maison Margiela, who probably in another life would’ve sent this piece down the runway adorned with literal glass shards.
It’s clear from this season of NYFW that the women of New York don’t want delicate. They want heart racing. They want something to wear to rage against the light and rage against the machine of uniformity. They want palm sweating. Traffic stopping. Head-turning. High concept. High brow. High fashion.
This article originally appeared on Grazia International