Domesticity. As a concept for a fashion show, it doesn't exactly get the blood racing. But in Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough's able hands, it produced a fine collection, one that put them at the forefront of New York's serene new mood. Over the last several seasons, the Proenza Schouler designers have cemented their reputations as designer craftsmen; the hand is very obvious in their work, even if many effects are achieved by twenty-first-century technology. For Spring, Hernandez and McCollough said they were looking at furniture designers and artists—Sergio Rodrigues, Robert Ryman, and Piero Manzoni were all name-checked backstage. It's an eclectic bunch, but what they have in common is that they rejected the slick and the sleek in favor of texture and depth—just like Lazaro and Jack.
Cotton crepe pantsuits and a coat were garment-printed to look as if a paint roller had been taken to the fabric, with only the seams and edges untouched—they were more elegant than that description sounds. Hernandez and McCollough printed silk crepe dresses with silhouettes of branches and trees; it was remarkable how three-dimensional the patterns looked. And a coat was embroidered with a dense silk pile; it resembled nothing so much as a Moroccan Berber rug. All of those artful details could've weighed the collection down. The three-quarter-length hems of dresses, skirts, and cropped culottes might've looked droopy. But the designers mostly avoided those pitfalls. Meanwhile, pleats, which they began exploring in their Resort collection, got the couture treatment, bonded with razor-thin strips of silver and bronze foil. Those dresses looked effortless to wear; they'll be spending a lot of time on the red-carpet circuit.
There's been a definite uptick in the number of cold-weather coats on the Spring runways. With their turn-key closures and squared-off contrast lapels, Proenza Schouler's rank among the best.