Lest anyone hadn’t noticed, the Eighties are alive and well in New York this week. Their archetypal power babe got a new look at Proenza Schouler, where Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez rendered her in all her tough chic, fetishistic glory, but in ivory as well as the expected black. And if her big, rounded shoulders will have limited appeal at retail, her aura definitely had a certain something. Among the strong pieces: the strappy-back silk jumpsuit that opened the show (it came out again late over a big-shouldered blouse); some terrific engineered knits; a cinch-waist skirt with port-hole embroidery at the hem.
Then, suddenly, the collection switched gears. We are all familiar with the concept of designers putting their editorial vision on the runway and keeping the commercial stuff back at the ranch. But here, it seemed as if Hernandez and McCollough wanted to hedge their bets, because suddenly the mood shifted. It was still Eighties, and still editorial in its way, but looser, safer, slouchier, more tony domesticated diva than dominatrix. It’s not wrong, per se — certainly there’s a lot to be said for putting approachable clothes on the runway — and many of the clothes were terrific. But one came away with the sense that, despite its gutsy motif, this was not the most confidently rendered of collections.