Proenza Schouler Resort 2022
There’s a lot of noise out there.
Fashion brands are waging an all-out war for attention, dropping a new collaboration, activation and website-crashing blue puffer jacket every minute. But what about style?
Last season’s headline-making model casting of Ella Emhoff aside, Proenza Schoulder designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez are not interested in chasing clicks and hype.
“We’re speaking to an adult, thinking woman who is interested in fashion but not a slave to it,” McCollough said. “We’re not interested in creating fashion that feels so seasonal it’s out of fashion. So it’s about building and creating a wardrobe over time. That’s at the forefront.”
Functionality is a quintessential American fashion value going all the way back to before Halston and the Battle of Versailles, and now more than ever, it seems like the time to herald it again.
With their latest collection, McCollough and Hernandez are leading the charge with assertive coats, leather wardrobe pieces and innovative knits.
Capturing the kinda, sorta post-pandemic mood, the collection has one shearling-slippered foot in at-home cozy, and the other in city power dressing. Exhibit A: A sexy black technical viscose jacquard sweater dress, sculpted to the waist, worn with long black leather shorts and lug-sole boots. It’s a fabulous look, and slip off the shorts and slip on some heels and you are ready to go to dinner.
“We love the idea of convertible clothes,” said Hernandez, echoing the move toward utility that has emerged this season at Tory Burch and elsewhere.
During the pandemic, the designers learned it’s time to throw out the old fashion rules (another American fashion value, it should be said). So the resort collection they are delivering in October is a winter collection, full of coats to wear just as the air starts to chill, including a luscious salt and pepper Mongolian lamb coat; a cool camel military style with oversize pockets and a wide collar, and a black boucle wool robe coat with detachable leather lapels that can be buttoned in or out depending on one’s mood.
McCollough and Hernandez have a way with leather, from the salmon-hued, double-breasted nappa leather blazer and shorts suit that’s like butter, to the mushroom-hued plonge leather dress, ruched at the neck, with an easy fit, full sleeves and crochet side-seam details that would be a wardrobe workhorse.
They have also emerged as innovators in knitwear. Besides offering one of the best looking knit sets in a year full of them — in marigold rib with a long, basketball uniform-like tunic and flared pants pooling at the floor — they pushed the idea of the boucle lady suit to a more modern place, showing a marigold chunky hand knit keyhole neck sweater and matching pull-on short skirt that is crafty-cool.
Pushing the bounds of knitwear further, a long black boucle sweater dress with a detachable white fluttery silk scarf fastened to the shoulder with a gold button was chic, as was a black knit waist wrap pinned with a horn safety pin over a white viscose pleated top and pants. A fashion riff on the casual sweater tied at the waist idea, it’s a styling trick to pay attention to.
With shoulder pads and inner construction removed, suiting also had soft, stretchy appeal, including a lean chocolate brown blazer with a single-button high at the neck and a wide spread collar had the ease of a cardigan over fluid pants.
Last spring, the designers started working in jersey to stellar results commercially, so they returned to it, offering several dresses with elegant pleating, twist back and flutter sleeve details that also serve to make the brand feel more inclusive to different body types.
A unique hand-painted black-and-white palm motif on a pleated sundress, and abstract floral lace patches of the decidedly non-bridal variety worked into a relaxed white viscose bubble dress, spoke to their rededication to arts n’ crafts — and offered a few more warmer weather options for true resort customers.
“Up until a couple of seasons ago, we pushed that craft thing to the side. We had explored it so much in our early days, we wanted nothing to do with it,” McCollough said. “Now we’ve started to explore those old techniques again but in a quieter way.”
“I feel like we’ve established a language now that we can riff off of,” added Hernandez of the new, confident outlook for Proenza as the brand embarks on its 20th anniversary in 2022. “We are having so much fun.”
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