Say good-bye to last season's frills. For Spring, Proenza Schouler switched gears. "It's much tougher," said Jack McCollough before a show that carried a strong eighties vibe in the form of big shoulders, high-waisted tapering pants, parachute silks, and more jumpsuits than you could count. "It's not so much about toughness," corrected his partner, Lazaro Hernandez, "as it is about confidence." He could've been talking about the duo's frame of mind as much as the clothes themselves. The money they made selling a portion of their company to the Valentino Group last year has not only given them opportunitiesthey launched a full-scale accessories collection at today's showit's also freed them to take risks. Witness those accessories. There wasn't a plain-Jane pump in the bunch; instead, fuzzy bedroom slippers came with heels that looked like giant drill bits. And there were new mirrored versions of the cool, round sunglasses that every second editor has been sporting this week.
Blouses and coats with dolman sleeves, the selvedges exposed on the outside of the arm seams, were just as fearless, and they were worn by a parade of models with long hair cascading down one side of the face à la Jerry Hall. It made for some striking imagery, though at times the wearability of the clothes clearly suffered for all the high concepts. Luckily, that wasn't the whole story: After all, these It boys have It girls like Mary-Kate Olsen and Nicole Richie to keep in signature bra-cup tops (this season, they were rendered in black leather) and stretchy knit dresses. As for those jumpsuitsby day, worn belted over sheer, sleeveless button-downs, and by night stitched in swirls of silver or black and white bugle beads (very Last Days of Disco)they could very well be a surprise hit at retail.