Proenza Schouler takes downtown cool far downtown

SAMANTHA CRITCHELL AP Fashion Writer Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- The real-people-in-the-pool print on Proenza Schouler's catwalk Wednesday night probably took some fashion insiders -- who don't expect that much newness during eight days of previews for next season -- by surprise.

The collection by Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough started off by advancing some trends seen for spring, including leather, patchwork, some perforated and mesh textures. The leather was a little shinier, the patchwork a little more random and the textures a little more exaggerated, but, still, they fell in line.

The duo also offered skirt suits galore, but they weren't trim and tailored; jackets were collarless and covered in snakeskin, and the skirts were slung low on the hips.

But the digital-print satin dresses decorated with neon nailheads on the tops and grommets on the bottom that served as the finale were only as Proenza Schouler can do, and showed why they are considered one of New York's bellwethers for fashion's future. The styles were a little out there, but it's where so many others will be.

Other than the retro pool party, there were a few prints with photos of faces in a crowd and another of the ocean. It was all refreshing.

By the time the evening show was over, retailers, editors and stylists had stopped complaining they had to go so far downtown to a Lower East Side neighborhood even native New Yorkers couldn't find to see these defining downtown looks.