02/14/2013 12:18 EST | Updated 04/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Proenza Schouler delights fashionistas with ingenious fabrics and an aura of softness

NEW YORK, N.Y. - When you have to travel way downtown for a 10-minute fashion show at an address even a veteran New York cab driver has trouble finding, the clothes had better be worth it.

The consensus, after the Proenza Schouler fall preview Wednesday night: More than worth it.

Once again Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough — or just "the boys," as they are called — came up with something new and fascinating, leaving fashionistas buzzing with pleasure.

In the appropriately spectacular venue of a long shuttered, 19th-century building said to have been the first high-rise in New York City — in the dark, the walls looked like something from an ancient ruin — the designers displayed a restrained colour palette of white, black and subtle pastels like mint and peach, enabling them to place the focus squarely on the beautiful fabrics.

And that was a good thing, because the fabrics were not only rich and soft, but also mind-bendingly complex in their construction, to hear the designers describe it.

"You know those tweeds? They were actually all leather, woven into panels," noted McCollough in a post-show interview. "Nothing is really what it seems. You have to touch it."

And that lacy thing that looked just like leather with tiny cutouts? It wasn't. The two men described long processes of fabric building that made it sound like they were working on a doctoral thesis in engineering.

And yet with all the state-of-the-art techniques, the goal was simply to create a pleasing sense of softness. "It's a mood," said Hernandez. "I'd describe it as serene, light, soft. Isn't that what we all want more of? We wanted something a little quieter this time, more discreet."

Added McCollough: "We said, let's just get rid of the angles this time. We really went to town exploring the textures."

Some designers make only subtle changes year in and year out. Not Proenza Schouler, who truly reinvented the wheel. Do they always reinvent the wheel this way?

"Yes!" the two men responded in unison, chuckling. "We get bored easily," Hernandez explained.