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Feb 19, 2015 11:35 AM

NY Fashion Week: Proenza Schouler on the art of fashion

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) The Associated Press is all over New York Fashion Week, from its runway fashions to celebrity-packed events. Here's what some AP writers are seeing:



It felt like no accident that Proenza Schouler showed their collection at the imposing (and now empty) Whitney Museum on Madison Avenue. Design duo Jack McCollough and Lazaro Fernandez are so innovative even audacious with fabric work, their garments could be shown in glass cases and wouldn't look out of place. But that would have been a shame, since many of the items including some soft tweed coats with nice wide belts seemed perfect for the freezing night air outside.

Wednesday's event drew an artsy crowd, all the better to appreciate the show's theme: The art movement called the New York School, a mid-20th century group of artists based in New York, including abstract expressionist painters. Particularly, the designers say they were inspired by the paintings of Helen Frankenthaler, and her "instinctual and spontaneous approach" to her art.

The designers say that led them not to overthink their designs, and clearly that worked for them, because the collections left many in the crowd gushing over the creativity on display.

The early part of the show, which took place in an upstairs gallery, with models crisscrossing each other between the seated rows at a brisk pace, focused heavily on that thick, luxurious tweed, often in gray or black. There was also a striking "spotted calf" fabric in dresses and coats that looked exactly what it sounds like.

The Proenza designers use titles for their fabrics that hint at the complex development process: "Boiled felt," for example, and "needle-punched chiffon-crepe." The collection moved from those comfy tweeds to gauzier items to dresses and tops that, like bandages, wrapped around the body and tied in back no closures. If they literally looked like they had been stripped apart, it seems they had been. Drawing from the work of sculptor Robert Morris, "clothes are cut, slashed and pieced together to create a feeling of movement and freedom," the designers wrote in a statement.

Often designers' themes and inspirations sound silly and unrelated to the garments on show. Not here, though. Even the hosiery looked like a work of contemporary art with huge oval holes making the black tights look like super-artsy fishnets.

Jocelyn Noveck


Follow AP Fashion at twitter.com/AP_Fashion


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