Digital rain tumbles down the walls of Hall des Lumières as models in fringe, knitwear and bell-bottoms begin their descent down the runway. Proenza Schouler kicks off the traditions of NYFW by opening the Spring/Summer season shows. As the crown royalty of NYFW, Proenza Schouler is finally celebrating its 20th anniversary as a fashion house.

Credit: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

The theme for this show? The Earth’s elements, specifically water, is imitated in the structure and drape of each outfit. A tribute to liquidity is easy to spot in the repetitive design elements. These include deep bell sleeves and swishing bell bottoms with contrasting trim. The famed faces of Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Shalom Harlow could be spotted amid halos of white fringe and plunging bell sleeves. 

Metallic fishnet knit dresses with a fringed bottom, large tiered skirts and mini dresses over bell-bottom pants dominated the show this year. For Spring/Summer 2023, Proenza Schouler made a point toward tacticality- involving fringe, but lace, knitwear and ruffles into their usual minimalist designs. 

Fringe Fantasy 

Credit: Monica Feudi

Using fringe within their collections has become a clear favourite for designers Hernandez and McCollough. As the echoing element for the Spring/Summer collection, fringe has been redefined from cowboy fanaticism to an earthy representation of rainfall. 

Kendall Jenner in a sumptuous white fringe bra-top and fishnet skirt took to the runway like a fish to water. The swaying of the longer tassels on the top half of the body coinciding with the shorter fringe hemming the skirt creates a lucid image. Tied in with the fishnet knit, this design is visually fish-like, bringing the element of water to life on the runway. 

70s does 40s 

Credit: Monica Feudi

This fantastical image of fringe as liquid is continued in the silhouettes created to resemble a downpour of water. The tiered bell sleeves and flowing bell bottom pants have a water-like drape to them, while also taking inspiration from the shapes of 70s-does-40s. Polka dots featured numerous times throughout the collection, an embellishment that clearly denotes the endearing 40s housewife.

Credit: Monica Feudi

Even Shalom Harlow walked in a black 70s-style duster coat adorned with fringed polka dots. 

While mini dresses over pants may seem like a reference to the early 2000s penchant for dresses over jeans (a terrifying trend even at the time), the 70s is known for matching long shirts or mini dresses over flared pants. A highlight from the collection (pictured above) was the 70s-does-40s set with huge bell sleeves and bell bottoms with white trim enhancing their liquid-like swish. 

Maximal Minimalism 

It’s official, Proenza Schouler is a NYFW god. Directly influencing American fashion trends for the last 20 years, this fashion house has redefined the minimalist realm. By pushing silhouettes and design elements to the extreme, Proenza Schouler’s Spring/Summer collection can pique the interest of even the most devout maximalist. 

Jewelled turquoise hues, ruffled polka dot pants and iridescent green mini dresses walk the runway to create a dopamine-infused feeling. This water inspired fantasy takes inspiration from every facet of fashion. From the retro 70s-does-40s to the tactileness of futuristic minimalism. The humongous shapes that drape off of models in this season’s show clearly show Proenza Schouler as a cornerstone of NYFW. That, and an icon to be exalted in the years to come. 

Here are some of our other favourites from this collection:

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