Proenza Schouler Womenswear A/W12

Sartorial self-defence from the New York duo Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough

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One image you should keep in mind when looking at the Proenza Schouler collection is of a woman on a motorcycle, wearing a leather jacket and getting the hell out of town after winning a bar fight. Not that that's what any of Proenza's alt-fashion elite girls will be getting themselves into this season, but this woman's self reliance and fortitude come out in their version of hard city power dressing. Think about her especially as you take in all the leather, woven into skirts and armoured panel dresses, quilted into jackets and lacquered into trousers; an entire fall collection without the softness of wool.

We started out with this concept of modes of protection and what would those different modes be

Abandoning the strict 50's outlines of last season, the Proenza boys opened up to a rougher, larger and more dangerous look with an inherently structured toughness. "We started out with this concept of modes of protection and what would those different modes be," said designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough backstage. "In a way it's protecting yourself with padding and quilting and texture; things that envelope you. Then we started researching all these different forms of fighting like samurai, fencing, kendo and martial arts.

In a way it's protecting yourself with padding and quilting and texture; things that envelope you. Then we started researching all these different forms of fighting like samurai, fencing, kendo and martial arts

The last form was escape; leaving and traveling far to the mountains, which is where the brocade, the quilting and the birds embroidered on top of the quilting come in, taking flight and flying away. Just modes that people use to protect themselves from the big bad world." Proenza Schouler is distinctive enough each season to give its clientele a cool playing card among international fashion circles, but when things get vicious and it becomes fight or flight, this collection protects the wearer either way.

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