Proenza Schouler Resort 2011

Those who know me will tell you that above all, Proenza Schouler is my dream team of designers. I often fantasize about the moment when Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough come to me and say, “hey, we know you have been prattling on about us making menswear and today is that day. Take one of each.” Until that glorious day when the impossible happens, I am left awe-struck by their collections – Resort 2011 being nothing short of fantastic.

As usual, the silhouettes are quite slim and the head to toe styling evokes images of the coolest girl in New York. No one is tougher, sexier or more confident than a Schoul girl – the same feeling has occurred in past seasons, so what you have here is a brand. The covetable brand of “cool” that makes girls aspire to be unmistakable stand outs.

Mixing patterns and textures is a trend that comes and goes, but with aztec-lite prints and geometrics, Proenza Schouler offers the kind of statement that requires few or no accessories. As you can see, the styling is fairly minimal – solid black heels ensure that the eye is drawn to the prints, while bags are very simple in solid colours. If you are going to mix patterns, be adventurous. My only suggestion is tone the rest of your outfit down, or you won’t have any visible direction. It is like being at a sundae bar as a kid. Sure, putting everything from peanuts to gummy bears seems like a good idea, but eventually you are left with drowning bears in a bowl of ice cream soup.

Although the layered look may not be practical for all summer climates, what Lazaro and Jack have shown us is that summer resort wear can be quite sophisticated and – dare I say it – fun. Above you’ll see a play of proportions (cropped sleeve, high waist) that adds to the optical illusion created by the graphic print. Not only is the illusion more prominent, but the model appears to have legs for days (of course, this is partly due to the model’s physique, but mixing proportions and patterns creates a jarring distinction between cloth and flesh).

If you were skeptical about mixing patterns (how often are we told not to pair plaid with “other plaid?”), it should go without saying that Proenza Schouler proves that the outcome need not be muddled. Finding the right proportions for your body and selecting colours that captivate and flatter may be challenging, but when it is right, it is really right.


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