“Asian is so hot right now”

“Asian is so hot right now”

When Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler summed up their A/W 12-3 collection by saying "It's Asian but in a New York way", I had visions of girls running around downtown (or indeed uptown at Proenza Schouler's impending new store on Madison Avenue) scrabbling around and figuring out ways how to "do" an Asian look.  I'm of course deflecting.  Make no mistake that despite my innate eyebrow raising at all things hokily Oriental (cease before you speak Statesiders, the word is not offensive in the UK) in fashion, Proenza Schouler once again hit a new high.  Their pheasants soared and their chrysanthemums bloomed in a way that did NOT have me wondering whether the designer looked at references from China or Japan through a lens tinted with literal exoticism or hackneyed cliches.  

The show itself sadly eluded my physical self though because even if my eyes wanted to witness this Asian/New York hybrid moment, my body failed me on the night of the show, which had me lurching for the toilet on the bathroom floor.  In Paris though at the showroom, that was where I got to affirm what the pictures already told me already – that Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough are sitting pretty at the front-of-the-pack, setting the tone for the season and for future seasons when the inspired trickle down in other brands and high street clothes begin.  The initial passage of the show is stark, demure and almost monkish in its devotion to all shades of white and cream rendered in quilted, waffled and padded textures, ballooning all over the body in a way that I'm really quite taken with at the moment.  Sadly buying things three sizes too big isn't the solution to the oversized conundrum as Hernandez and McCollough get the proportions bang on – the sleeves curving away from the arms just so, the shoulders hulked around the bodyframe at the correct angles, the skirts flaring out from the legs with precision.  Cynics would say that the shapes owe more than their fair share to Nicholas Ghesquiere but even that old chestnut can't detract from the fact that the collection left onlookers feeling refreshed and excited.

On that trail of thought you have to look at the detailing, which kicks in when Lazaro and McCollough begin to make nods at everything from Japaense kimono obis, samurai uniforms and costumes from Bhutan.  It's a sensory joy to go through all of it in words and in person when feeling up the clothes – tubular plastic beading threaded with leather, basket weave leather, honeycomb stitching, thick jersey yarn knits, geometric quilting and an array of technical laces.  When the textures weren't of the innovative sort that the duo have become known for, more traditional surfaces such as the Japanoiserie brocade is cut and spliced into long-sleeve dresses which do away with any reminders of terrible tourist robes or "sexy Oriental babe" lingerie.  When you see that familiar embroidery of pheasants cockerels and peacocks, reminiscent of vintage kimonos or fraying silk cushions, they're given new environments in the form of baseball jackets of the highest order and quilted dresses.  Show pieces don't get more tangible and unreachable, than this.  Tangible because they are essentially you-me-and-everyone-can-wear-em friendly jackets.  Unreachable because inevitably they'll be hellishly expensive. 

With shows just around the corner, I don't doubt that there will be plenty of these Asian slash New York looks running about town.  Or even err… Asians running around in these Asian slash New York clothes.  Here's hoping yours truly (Asian, staunch Londoner) can join them.    





































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  1. Anastasios

    2012-08-28 at 8:23 PM

    Oh God, amazing designs!!!!!!!!!!! Asian is now and Asian is the future for sure too!!!!!
    These Proenza Schouler designs are far beyond anything else, such lines and cuts!
    Thanks for sharing dear Susie!

  2. Diana Pereira

    2012-08-28 at 8:23 PM

    in details PS just looks even better
    I love when you do these kinds of posts

  3. Tara

    2012-08-28 at 8:28 PM

    It is most definitely about in details in this collection. I particularly love the little hexagonal-honeycomb detailing on the collars and the more Oriental flourishes on the jackets.
    Best Wishes,

  4. Sara

    2012-08-28 at 8:34 PM

    Great read. I love the fabrics they’ve used… x

  5. Tian

    2012-08-28 at 8:36 PM

    The oriental influences are lovely! I love that it’s free of gimmicks.

  6. Hannah

    2012-08-28 at 8:52 PM

    Gorgeous! I’m giddy with excitement over here that “Asian” is back again. It reminds me of the 90s but this execution is nothing cheesy. The PS boys are definitely taking something from which they found inspiration and made it their own into possibly a brand new trend (I hate that word) that might actually be NEW for once. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do anyways? Find something inspiring and mold it, bend it, rip it and sew it to make something of your own?

  7. Lactose Intoler-Art

    2012-08-28 at 8:55 PM

    This is like the collection I have been waiting for! I personally love mixing an east meets west style, especially with vintage, so this collection really spoke to me! I absolutely love the waffle textures and silhouettes…It makes me excited to wear something with these proportions, and to me it is very fresh and unique!

  8. Serdane

    2012-08-28 at 9:10 PM

    Very nice outfits. It’s like a rock version of Maison Martin Margiela.

  9. mwm

    2012-08-28 at 9:24 PM

    Like you (if I’ve understood you correctly when the issue comes up), I don’t have a problem with designers referencing or mining cultures that may not be their own, as long as it’s done well. I do take issue with the language. “Asian but in a New York way” only makes sense if you assume there are no Asians in New York. I’m sure you thought about this too, but it just rankles with me. They could have found ways to describe this idea that didn’t erase thousands of people’s existence, and probably that also did a better job of describing the actual collection. The laziness of this wording distresses me because it shows how unimportant they thought the subtext was.
    I really do like the clothes, but the wording takes a little air out of the balloon, for me.

  10. sgh

    2012-08-28 at 9:37 PM

    The clothes are right up my alley so thanx for the pics of the details, theyre lovely.

  11. anne

    2012-08-28 at 10:19 PM

    oh I love that collection sooo much. Fabrics, details, shapes, prints, embroderies, everything is perfect!

  12. chloe ross

    2012-08-28 at 10:44 PM

    nice outfits! 🙂
    chloe xo xo xo

  13. susie_bubble

    2012-08-29 at 1:48 AM

    Hmmm… I’m not sure Hernandez meant that phrase in that way. Post-show backstage interviews are a little insane and maybe that soundbite just came out as a short and snappy way to sum up the collection. I doubt he was thinking about the subtext. I’d put it down to exhaustion, stress and backstage interview frenzy. Despite the callous wording and the fact that err…there ARE Asians in NY, in a way, it DOES sort of neatly sum up what the collection is about – it’s basically a shorthand sentence of “Asian references and motifs rendered for New York girls who like cool silhouettes”, no?

  14. Brigadeiro

    2012-08-29 at 3:55 AM

    This is definitely my favourite Proenza Schouler collection to date, loved seeing all these gorgeous detail shots!

  15. Jessica

    2012-08-29 at 4:45 AM

    I shed a quiet tear over you not making it to the show. Alas, showroom is just as good (no really, omg I’d kill to be able to go there).
    The detail here is perfection. Proenza oh how I love theeee
    The Lovelorn

  16. jessbuurman

    2012-08-29 at 6:09 AM

    Nice dresses for fashion lover. Every lady look sweet in this type of dress.

  17. Miss Coco

    2012-08-29 at 8:35 AM

    I love white style!
    Miss Coco

  18. Sari Purdy

    2012-08-29 at 9:34 AM

    The Asian outfits are just great. They look really good.

  19. Kellyelisejaspers

    2012-08-29 at 9:43 AM

    wow amazing pics, I can almost feel the materials;)!

  20. The Provoker

    2012-08-29 at 12:05 PM

    Sue!! I’m so glad you did this post, no other blogger’s done this yet (up close shots of PS other than seeing some of them from their official instagram page), this fall proenza show is seriously one of my BIG faves, maybe because it reminds me a lot of balenciaga, but still it’s got the perfect color range, shapes, cuts, and those brocade jackets and paneled skirts are gonna be sold out and you know it! I’m prepared to scrape up as many pieces from this collection as I can. like I always say “I want this I want this I want this” lol x

  21. AngieMontreal

    2012-08-29 at 5:26 PM

    Warrior clothing…

  22. Théa

    2012-08-29 at 6:56 PM

    Love these details!
    Théa Unknown


    2012-08-29 at 8:12 PM


  24. marie

    2012-08-29 at 10:35 PM

    amazing collection! love the details!

  25. Jane

    2012-08-30 at 1:50 AM

    The close-up shots just confirm how interesting these designs are as a whole. The Asian influence is only the beginning. Thanks for sharing the photos. If only I could get my hands on a single piece! *sigh*

  26. Nicole Bennett

    2012-08-30 at 1:53 AM

    These designs are so intricate!
    Lovign the shapes and colours.

  27. Elvis Trujillo

    2012-08-30 at 8:19 AM

    Just one word to describe this outfits… par excellent!

  28. Rigoberto McClure

    2012-08-30 at 8:57 AM

    These are all trend, the most important thing with fashion is that you can use what you have to get what you desire to achieve. In fashion one should keep it real and be up to date always otherwise l am loving what l am seeing.

  29. Rosemary Schmidt

    2012-08-30 at 9:08 AM

    I love color and l must confess the colors blended pretty well and the photos come out pretty well l love everything l am seeing.

  30. Dill

    2012-08-31 at 8:33 AM

    Goodness this is the first “asian” themed collection by a western label that hasn’t had me cringing. I’m asian too and I simply loathe the way alot of them just throw over-sexualized mish mashes of different chinese/ japanese bits complete with ghastly geisha fail makeup – even the big fashion houses are guilty of that. updated
    PS did their homework on prints and embroidery this time!

  31. Elvis Trujillo

    2012-08-31 at 9:58 AM

    The white jacket too. It leaves me breathless.

  32. steampunk

    2012-08-31 at 10:45 AM

    WOW!Amazing designs!Love love love!
    Love the white jacket!Awesome!

  33. Mónica C. Welton

    2012-08-31 at 1:36 PM
  34. vanessa

    2012-09-01 at 10:47 AM

    I love the innovative textures an mix of fabrics

  35. ttea

    2012-09-01 at 3:47 PM

    Very beautiful designs. I think it’s only natural that Asian fashion and inspiration are on the rise. Asia is rising as an economic power, and soon it will have a dominant hand in everything, especially China. There are some really beautiful designs here, especially the black and white pieces.

  36. Noe Farrell

    2012-09-03 at 12:04 PM

    I really love the design, looks so beautiful indeed! The white jacket flatters me a lot-This is actually fantastic, keep up!

  37. fashions and styles

    2012-09-03 at 12:17 PM

    Yes, I am agree with the Asian is so hot right now. The way they dressed, their looks, fashions and styles etc…Your design is very creative and nice outfits^^

  38. Anne-Marie

    2012-09-04 at 11:51 AM

    The textures and prints are once again incredible…That mix between padding and embroidery, and that red and gold pattern…Waouh!
    The tailoring looks a bit like an old japanese armour, interesting but ill-fitting for the average girl.

  39. Deadly Bite

    2012-09-22 at 12:40 AM

    There are some absolutely incredible fabrics in there! I’m a fan *.*

  40. Fumi

    2012-11-09 at 6:34 AM

    I’m a native Californian of Japanese descent and I too find that as well intentioned as someone may be, the Asian factor is sometimes poorly executed (case in point: the Victoria’s Secret Sexy Little Geisha babydoll). And however poorly it might have been explained by Hernandez, you can see from the detail that there is a faithful rendering of clear Asian influences and a careful study of design.
    The work was wonderfully done and are exquisite. It speaks for itself.

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