Celebrating the off-kilter at Proenza Schouler

AP/ AFP – Watching the first models emerge at the Proenza Schouler runway show, you could have been forgiven for thinking everyone simply forgot to properly adjust their outfits before hitting the runway. Didn’t they have a mirror backstage?

A black knit dress, a roomy dark wool coat, a double green breasted suit jacket, a similar jacket in a dark plaid — all were tugged down to expose an errant shoulder. It became obvious that was the point: to take a common shape, then twist it just a little off kilter.

The jumping-off point was a blanket. Designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez started with that idea. Describing the collection, they wrote, “The Proenza Schouler woman steps into a new unpredictable decade… blanketed in a protective layer of strength and confidence.” It described the clothes as “warm, round, enveloping”.

But there were also tightly fitted dresses, leathery shifts wound securely around the body like a bandage. “The delicate balance of generous volumes twisted and wrapped around the body fastened by a single closure calls to mind the tension of control and release” of much of the label’s clothes, they wrote. Another striking element on the Proenza runway: the thigh-high slouchy leather boots — in black, white, tan, brown — that looked somehow both comfy and tough, appropriately enough for a collection emphasising duality.