2011 February 17

New York Fall 2011: Proenza Schouler, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Yigal Azrouel

Proenza Schouler Fall 2011 Proenza Schouler Fall 2011
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(NEW YORK) Proenza Schouler
Of the many shot-in-the-arm revelations that came courtesy of the Fall 2011 Proenza Schouler runway, the most memorable will certainly be the workmanship. Jack McCullough and Lazaro Hernandez have always been unapologetic when it comes to playing with new ideas, but this one, derived from a trip to the Southwest, demonstrated the technical prowess and impeccably developed concept that few New York designers can muster (a la fois). Riffing on the textures and motifs of Native American blankets, McCullough and Hernandez's fearlessly sexy handpainted silk cocktail dresses will be the ones snapped up immediately by the bored-of-spangles set. (Calling Moda Operandi.) Macrame skirts, chicly paired with black and white sueded cowboy shirts, felt equally new. The whipped leather and viscose knits, which were cleverely used in slouchy sweaters and pants, resisted the natural urge to feel clunky. But it was the last five dresses, handpainted velvet on transparent silk, worn with opaque black tights, that became the palette cleanser for whatever else was seen this week. They spoke quietly, but in volumes.

Oscar de la Renta
Quit talking about the recession! Or so seemed to be Oscar de la Renta's Fall 2011 offerings, which were laden with so much fox, boucle, and threadwork that at least a few hundred ODLR loyalists will be up for the AmEx Black Card in 2012. Perhaps you would like an evening gown comprising a beaded bodice and slashed tulle skirt...topped off with an embroidered white fur topper? Or maybe a teal knit dress, with matching fox epaulettes, is more your speed? Whatever the case, in a palette of burgundy, emerald, taupes and greys—with a healthy dose of black and white—it has likely already found a following.

Michael Kors
This review will start, of course, with a mention of Michael Kors' 30th anniversary, which he properly celebrated with this Fall 2011 collection. Was it nostalgic? A little, with his usual motifs (doubleface, fox, jersey) appearing in abundance. But his focus on palette and texture, and especially tonality, made this one for the books. The 60th look, a cream, drapey beaded tunic and pants on Daphne, will be the photo heard round the world, but the suiting (a peach ensemble with a barely-there beaded shell) and separates (camel cashmere trousers, a low-cut silk blouse, paired with a divine dusty rose fox) were just as memorable. Here's to another 30.

Yigal Azrouel
Proving the minimalism trend has no signs of slowing, one of its original masters showed a menswear interpretation for Fall. With suiting as a focal point, Yigal Azrouel's layering-heavy collection incorporated prim button-downs, fluid trousers, and of course, the kicky jackets (tuxedo or otherwise) that have made this designer a global ambassador of downtown cool. The knits (a greige-y paneled sweaterdress) and brights (a boxy clementine overcoat) were particularly strong. But it was Azrouel's evening that raised the fashion consciousness with a sculptural gold lame sleeved gown, decked out in threadwork.