By the time we get to this point in the New York Fashion Week schedule, our eyes are ready for something different, something exciting. We’ve seen all the “normal” collections. What we need is something thrilling and innovative to keep from having to stifle yawns. Coming at the end of a long day only makes that task more daunting.

Proenza Schouler’s design team of Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez definitely gave our eyes something different. Unfortunately, it may have been a touch too much. There is practically nothing in this collection that doesn’t have a very busy print on it somewhere, and some of the ensembles even dare to mix prints and colors in a way that had me rubbing my eyes, and not for any good reasons.

This is an interesting Proenza collection, one that is heavily padded, to the point of being stiff on the outside and spongey to the touch.While I fully expect there will be some modification before the collection hits stores this fall, I’m still not sure this is a line that is going to reach much beyond the Proenza faithful.

Silhouettes here tend to go large, with rounded shoulders, hour-glass shapes and ample room at the hips. With some pieces, that extra room is appreciated, but it makes coats and jackets heavier than they need to be, and a complete pain in the backside if one has to carry them around all winter.

Similarly, the prints on their own are not bad and when one looks at pieces separately, rather than all in a continuous line, they tend to work more often than not. One aspect that is especially attractive is the unique way in which panels alternating leather and prints are put together, creating a Proenza-styled architecture. These are the strong points of the collection and likely will be the best sellers of the group.

This is a collection that wants to be fun; it has a definite youthful slant with its tapered slacks and flat-soled shoes. The finale piece is surprisingly daring, if not a bit risky, and a look that was very well received. The guys definitely did a good job of getting and keeping everyone’s attention. Expect some modifications before this collection hits stores, though; it’s not quite ready for prime time.

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