Proenza Schouler is a New York based womenswear and accessories brand founded in 2002 by designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez.
Softly go Proenza Schouler this season and it’s a move that’s gone down oh-so well – prompting applause and enthusiasm of it being the “best thing” that’s been seen all week at New York Fashion Week backstage post show and congratulations from Elizabeth Olsen and Liv Tyler.
“She’s softer, we’re done with colour and exploring angles. This feels really fresh and relevant, we’re excited by this softness of colour and texture and touch, it’s comfortable and super refined,” elaborated Lazaro Hernandez after the show, feeling relaxed and content. “It’s weird, the build up was intense, the whole snowstorm was a bit of a bump in the road but it all came together,” he said. And it did, it very much did – that softness inspired by the work of photographer John Divola and his series of beachside structures in decay.
Sasha Pivovarova opened the show studiously clutching her bag like a library book to her chest – the way to carry one’s bag throughout – while soft cocoon shapes evolved around her and huge big buttons came into play for a sense of stark decoration. For that’s the clever line it bridged and crossed – clinical and clean yet soft and this was the message the designers – Hernandez and Jack McCollough – were keen to promote. “A softness and transparency and serenity, that’s what feels fresh to us. Our girl is still the same with her messed-up hair, it’s just different clothes, softer,” continued Hernandez.
It stayed within the realms of white mostly, though oddly felt like there was depth each time we saw it, or it wandered into grey and black for perforated leathers and then at the end beautiful lace dresses that elaborated on peplums. But the concensus throughout was shapely and sweatshirt-comfortable-style – there came two incarnations with feather skirts beneath them, a continuation of this ever-popular day-to-night-elegant-to-casual aesthetic that is marching its way down almost every catwalk right now.
There was a sense of inflation and the clinical, silhouettes standing away from the body, and then came the transition into chainmail for a Joan of Arc stance on contemporary fashion. “We wanted to make the chains feel like a gloss, a texture that you saw through,” explained Hernandez. Indeed, never did it actually feel heavy – though it was certainly in line with the New York designers rock ‘n’ roll finale edge that we’ve been seeing a fair bit of this week.
But it’s funny – in mostly white and in super soft shapes, this was a collection that made the most impact. But that’s what sets apart a great designer from a good designer: a nuance that arrests you and this pair certainly know how to do that.
Jessica Bumpus (vogue)