I remember when Proenza Schouler was just starting out, and the runway shows were among the more anticipated at Fashion Week, the Target line was really cute (I still have a dress from that; it was one of the last ones that felt particularly well-made), and it felt like such a promising emergence in American fashion. But the buzz dwindled, and I can’t tell where things stand there anymore: Proenza never emerged into a huge red carpet presence, which is fine — that doesn’t have to be everyone’s aesthetic — but as far as I can tell they don’t diffuse either, like a Kors or Hilfiger or Marc Jacobs or even Nanette Lepore, which I think helps pay an ENORMOUS amount of bills. So I can’t figure out what toehold this line still has anywhere, and looking at this doesn’t help. Truly, it makes me think of a formal-skirted version of Julia Roberts at the beginning of Pretty Woman, but with a turtleneck she bought off a street vendor thrown underneath it. It’s almost aggressively ugly. Then again, without the turtleneck… sigh. There are no winners here.

[Photo: WENN]