Live music and deconstructed mesh at Proenza Schouler

NEW YORK — Swiss artist Meret Oppenheim’s surreal aesthetic inspired Proenza Schouler’s latest collection, a series of eclectic silhouettes and flowing patterns on display at a midtown Manhattan art center on Friday afternoon.

Kicking off a fashion week in New York that will feature live runway shows, but still has some top designers due to the ongoing pandemic, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez treated their guests to live string music , to a composition by the Queens-based musician Eartheater, as they displayed exaggerated shapes often centered on the waist, with bulky garments gathering in the center to wrap or hug the body.

The theme, the designers said, was experimentation and play — more important than ever, they said, as people navigate a pandemic that has changed the way everyone lives.

“Entering a new moment in time, completely transformed,” they wrote in their production notes. “The question of what we all walk into – what will it look like and what qualities will define it… How do you find beauty in chaos?”

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As the violinists played, the parade, held at the Brant Foundation, a center for art studies in Manhattan’s East Village, began with sculpted knits and bright colors combined – yellow, purple, bright red – with black and white sets. Typical of the designers’ work was a theme of deconstructed clothing. “Construction is eliminated, leaving the yarn itself to do all the shaping,” the designers explained.

The focus was on peplums, or strips of fabric tied at the waist of dresses, skirts or tops, in various forms – short and ruffled, or longer, over a voluminous skirt or layered over an oversized trench.

The duo often choose themes of tension between extremes, and this Fall/Winter 2022 collection was no exception, focusing on concepts of control and release – “compressing but also exaggerating form”, as they put it. have described.

Designers also often choose artists as inspiration, and this time it’s Oppenheim, whose work they say served as a “central point of reference for the collection’s recontextualization of traditional dress codes.” Oppenheim, who died in 1985, will be the subject of a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art starting this year. She is best known for her surreal “Luncheon in Fur” sculpture, a fur-lined teacup, saucer and spoon.

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Among the top designers attending this Fashion Week is Tom Ford, who was due to wrap up the week but said he couldn’t finalize a collection due to COVID-related staffing issues. He is expected to show a virtual collection later this year.

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