A weekend of renaissance by experienced designers – Proenza Schouler, Anna Sui and Keren Craig of Nidrā Devi – staying true to their DNA to create convincing urban chic.
Proenza Schouler: Career-gal cool
Few designer brands anywhere are as consistently good as Proenza Schouler, which staged an excellent collection Saturday noon in a Chelsea art gallery to considerable acclaim.
Previously, collections by the Proenza Schouler duo of Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez were often very radically different from season to season. But the past few years have been all about a slow evolution, as the pair edited out extraneous elements to focus on their forte – slim sculptural silhouettes in advanced fabrics and clothes that flatter as much as they surprise.
This fall 2024 collection was certainly the most amount of black clothing the duo has ever done, a mood contrasted by the evocative soundtrack by Michel Gaubert. A brilliant edit of the great Alice Coltrane, widow of John and the leader of spiritual jazz.
“We wanted to juxtapose the darker mood with something soulful and beautiful. It seemed like the obvious direction,” explained McCollough.
A sense of sculpture throughout, as tops and blouses crept up and swirled around the neck; and metallic leather or dense lace dresses were wrapped around torsos.
“It’s about beauty and enveloping layers, and comfort and soulfulness. The fashion calendar is insane, it’s so fast and the world seems turned upside down right now. So, we work from instinct. So, it’s about protecting yourself in softness, beauty, luxury and sensuality,” added Lazaro.
The duo admitted to radically re-editing the collection at the last minute, stripping out a whole series of looks with embroideries and intense prints.
“We kinda’ panicked last night, but ultimately decided to take that all away and make it about form and silhouette,” chuckled Hernandez.
The result was a powerful statement – and a quintessentially New York vision about career women looking very marvelous.
Anna Sui: Literary renaissance
Agatha Christie style at Anna Sui, who staged her latest show inside the rare books department of The Strand, the most famous bookstore in New York.
Miss Marple mode with Londonderry tweed jackets mixed up with Cotswold plaid skirts and lots of Argyle lozenge looks. Though always in Sui’s sweeter hues, which this season were inspired by potter, Clarice Cliff. Hence cinnamon, mustard, curry and rose.
Brainy femme fatales in knee-length dresses done in prints culled from Virginia Woolf book covers. Before the collection went into overdrive at the finale with heartbreakingly cool metallic brocade cocktails.
Just 37 looks and not one bum note. The Sui pos-pandemic renaissance continues.
Nidra Devi: The renaissance of Keren Craig
F. Scott Fitzgerald used to say there was no second act in American public life, but then again, he never met Keren Craig.
Like a lot of British-born but New Yorker by inclination ladies Craig has made her home upstate post pandemic. But she returned to Manhattan in force this season with a trompe l’oeil driven collection presented with style in a lower Manhattan superclub.
Her new brand is called Nidra Devi and named after the India goddess of sleep – since the designer is something of an insomniac. India is also where Craig produces most of her stylish evening wear, which ingeniously often features detachable beading in a popper system.
Craig drapes with great flourish – from her bold tulip dresses to a series of sexy sequined looks in oxblood or golden Klimt hues. While her organza cocktails embroidered in Mumbai in pearls and beads were pretty sensational, as were silk tops cleverly paired with textured organza skirts or pants.
“I am about easy pieces that are versatile, so you can put them with jeans or wear several different ways,” explained Craig.
A decade ago, Craig was part of the Marchesa duo with then design partner Georgina Chapman, which was derailed by the scandal that engulfed the latter’s husband Harvey Weinstein.
So it was good to see Keren back with an original new collection reflecting her sense of celebratory chic and gift for harnessing Italian craftsmanship. Presented with a stylish look book styled by Zanna Roberts Rassi, a fellow Brit It Gal of downtown New York.
Keren celebrated her return with dinner dance inside Neuehouse on, just off Park Avenue South. Guests dined on scallops and dirty martinis, ideal for these clothes.
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