The black-and-white checked shirt; the elongated, at-an-angle bodice; and bone-white leather skirt that opened the Proenza Schouler show was stab at doing something new with an endangered America’s species: sportswear.
Designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough had a bold take on classics. They took trousers and spliced them into one leg red, the other orange, and performed the same trick with green and white legs.
The duo took the tunic as a dress and swept it down to the floor; or they created skirts in open-work fishnet mesh, which showed the legs inside stepping forward with a purposeful stride. There were more classic parkas and calf-length tailored spring coats in black wool or Prince of Wales check, cut concisely and precisely.
But while the more classic pieces were a nod to Céline in Paris, the overall feeling was of experimentation — particularly with python. That was fine for boots, but bold to a fault as inserts into tailored or casual outfits.
It seems churlish to criticise what must have been an impressive technical achievement. But mostly the scaly snake inserts looked weird.
The same was true of Twenties-style, flapper-girl silk fringing. Nearly a century after fringe on shimmy dresses liberated the legs, these strands were floor sweeping.
The Proenza Schouler shows are sometimes a puzzle, but always an expression of intelligent thought and complex handwork. So taken individually, there were beautiful pieces. But as a show it did not set my pulse racing.