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Proenza Schouler’s Gilded Ghost

In Temple Court Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez found a venue that met their message.

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Collections issue 04/15/2013

Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez cited the work of photographer John Divola, whose late-Seventies Zuma series “captured the slow decay of beachside structures,” as an inspiration for their fall collection. In Temple Court, the gorgeously beaten up Gilded Age office building in Manhattan’s Financial District, they found a venue that met their message.

This story first appeared in the April 15, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The ethereal, haunted vibe of the building has attracted plenty of fashion and film crews in recent years, and in February, was home to Proenza Schouler’s show for a second straight season. If its geographic remoteness caused some grumbling among the editorial set, none could argue with the spectral beauty of the place.

Erected in the early 1880s by multimillionaire Irish immigrant merchant Eugene Kelly, the brick and terra-cotta structure at 5 Beekman Street (“Street” and not “Place,” as at least one front-row photographer found out the hard way in February) was one of the city’s first megaoffice buildings. Some time after it fell out of the Kelly estate in the mid-20th century, its owners built a column of drywall around its central, and most transfixing feature, a massive skylight and nine-floor atrium.

The building fell into disuse after 2001, and location scouts in need of evocative urban settings came calling. (In between the last two Proenza shows, it hosted a multifloor launch party for Maison Martin Margiela’s H&M capsule.) They won’t have too much time left to use the space—5 Beekman Street will soon have a familiar New York real estate ending. GB Lodging, the development concern behind The Ace and Nomad hotels, has plans to turn the building into a hotel with 285 guest rooms and 85 residences. It filed its interior demolition permits with the Department of Buildings in March.