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Proenza Schouler SS16
Damaris Goddrie (Viva) backstage at Proenza Schouler SS16Photography Evan Schreiber

Proenza Schouler gives a lesson in beautiful deconstruction

The duo explore Hernandez’s Latin roots in a seductive collection which focused on the act of unravelling

Backstage after the Proenza Schouler show, the first thing that the designers cited as a starting point was ruffles. “We’ve never really done a ruffle – we first thought it was kind of wrong but then decided it would be great to do.” The abundance of bouncing ruffles that undulated at great speed on the curved catwalk space made people think of Spanish flamenco dancers.

Turns out the Proenza Schouler boys weren’t remotely thinking of Spain. Instead, Hernandez’s own roots came to the fore. “There is a Latin hint to it because of my personal history. I was looking at pictures of my family and you could feel the emotion, heat and sensuality.”

And there we arrive at the key word of this alluring collection. It was about the act of unravelling, and that happened to have an unexpected origin, which appeared on the runway as fun acrylic earrings. “We were looking at bananas and the peeling away of layers,” laughed Hernandez. “We took traditional shirts, cutting up the back, and inserting straps. There was something really beautiful and romantic to that. The sense of abandon too was important.”  

Women are unlikely to want to shed these clothes that centred around a cut-away construction spliced with double-faced velvet ribbon ties wherever possible. Erogenous zones revealed themselves amidst fabrics that were less techy and futuristic than what the duo are known for exploring. “We wanted the girl to feel optimistic and soulful, going back to the traditional way of making clothes,” added Jack McCollough. “There’s less technology and instead we went back to traditional craft. But it was also about creating something beautiful and then destroying it.”

It’s hard to associate these clothes with any process of destruction. Especially with the sort of exacting precision that Hernandez and McCollough have even finessed further, thanks to a new investor of the brand onboard. There was also a generosity in the billowing feather quills linked together to create layering slips, the use of circular or spherical embellishments like polka dots and metal ball bearings. This was an act of seduction that you could fall deep in.

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