Engaging in a game of verbal free-association to gauge their mood for fall, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez came up with words including “Energy,” “Abstraction,” “Humor,” “Color,” “Instinct,” “Spontaneous.” They printed them on press notes, and recited a few more backstage before their show. “It’s about having fun,” said Hernandez. “And creativity and energy and life.” The collection was all those things, plus a lot more, since clothes are not actually made of fun. The spree of frenetic colors and patterns the designers unleashed was a product of fertile imagination and incredible technical skill.
Hernandez and McCollough are fabric-focused, always pushing and testing. Here they nursed a major color and pattern infatuation fueled by doing sketch work in color pencils and meeting sculptor Ron Nagle, known for his acid-hued ceramics, at the Venice Biennale. Graphic combinations of black paired with orange, purple, turquoise, crimson and pink converged in patterns reminiscent of vinyl records and the Flintstones. These came mashed up on sporty separates and single garments, such as precise patchworks of leather and crepe on dresses.
There were also technical lace and flock prints embroidered with bugle beads. A wool jacquard coat that looked nothing like wool jacquard opened the show. Woven in a mini pattern that brought to mind television static, from afar it appeared to be some kind of bonded print. The fabric finish was flat, matte, almost scubalike and accentuated by architectural curves: a nipped waist and sleeves that were big at the shoulder tapered toward the wrist. Fun fact: The pattern related back to the squishy lining — a carpet pad — of the hard copy show invitation. A deliberate departure from the calm of the designers’ past two seasons, the clothes still fell well within their stylistic jurisdiction. The modernist hourglass shape of a short, cobalt blue crepe skirt suit and a bouclé peplum top in an aqua-and-black scribble pattern related to their black-and-white study in chic from fall 2013. And the finale dress, a curvy bra-top cut out under the bust with a flared skirt, circled back to the metallic bustiers of their first collection. The word that rushed to mind at the end of the show is one that at this point is almost synonymous with Proenza Schouler: “cool.”