Proenza Schouler's Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez always delight and surprise. At their Fall 2011 show, it started as soon as attendees filed into the industrial space along the West Side Highway where an elaborate runway maze lit by glowing neon rods greeted guests. At showtime, things got even more exciting. What we find so dazzling about the duo's fall offering is that it's entirely its own animal. Sure, the relaxed silhouette has made an appearance everywhere this season, but these prints, shapes, and fabrics really stand alone.
The intricate Native American-inspired prints, featuring embroidery and cutaways are uniquely sophisticated, especially on the calf-length dresses with handkerchief hems and relaxed trousers paired with knit cardigans and untucked tops. A minimal caged sandal that fastens up the ankle was paired with many of the looks, over tights and alone. Materials are all fall's bests like velvet, wool jacquard and tweed, mixed with pieces you'd never see coming, like suede and waxed leather tops and patent shearling coats in rich mustard and crimson. Up close, the clothes become even more special, as all the little details the designers undeniably labored over come to light---seams lined with small slits that ever-so-slightly reveal themselves as the body moves and the complexity of the hand-crafted prints. Anchored in an exploration of American history, this is American sportswear at its finest.