Proenza Schouler Womenswear S/S12

A tribal influence ran through the duo's new collection with digitalised prints and Japanese dyeing techniques

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The call of the jungle that’s been echoing through some of the NY S/S12 collections reared its tribal beat again at Proenza Schouler. What the best Proenza Schouler collections contain in abundance is the sense of a journey travelled – from experimenting with Japanese Shibori dyeing techniques to digitalizing Navajo blankets as a geometric prints – they mix their own personal histories with their fantasy of the modern woman to utterly desirable effect. So it looked like the boys had been on a safari for Spring/Summer – an African beat reverberated across the soundtrack and crocodile and zebra prints and  wood grain heels were featured. Their signature experiments with fabrics were in evidence with dresses made out of raffia (with some echoes of Alaia) and skirts that looked like leather but were actually made of eel skin. But if they went wild with their prints and textures, they stayed prim with the silhouettes – strict pencil skirts and wasp-waisted mid-length dresses. The bustier, a trademark from a few seasons back made a return as did luscious ornamentation and embroidery. “We wanted everything warm, human and primal”, chorused the boys backstage. Mission accomplished.

Dazed Digital: What was the starting point for the collection?
Lazaro: We were looking at mid-century architecture– which was based on the idea of speed. But at the same time we were looking at something a little more earthy, human and primal.

DD: Tell us about some of your experiments with fabrics this season.
Jack:
With the skirts that looked like leather we used eel skin, and the shoes that look like perforated leather was actually sting ray. The shoes that look like wood-grain were hand-painted to look like wood. Then we did these raffia dresses. So everything is kind of twisted – nothing is how you think it is. We’ve been off embroidery for a little while but it felt fresh to use it again this season. We wanted something beautiful and tactile... It was a collage of materials, things that look good together. We didn’t care so much about the references.

DD: But you kept the shapes very simple this time around.
Lazaro: Because so much work went into the 2-dimensional aspect of it, we kept the silhouettes really neat, nothing too crazy. So there’s pencil skirts, A-line dresses, waisted looks and then we did these bathing suit-inspired bustier tops. A sense of elegance feels relevant again.

DD: If there was an emotion running through the collection, how would you sum it up?
Lazaro: Luscious, cosy and elegant, a little more refined. We were tired of cold, minimal and refined. To us it felt kind of primitive, organic and human. That’s why the carpet’s here – we wanted warmth and life.

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