For Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, their recent trip to Cuba was about more than hopping on a cultural trend. Hernandez is Cuban-American, the son of parents who emigrated from Cuba as teenagers. He has always been curious about the life and family left behind.
If the trip proved emotional, too much so for resort reportage, it was also stimulating creatively. “There was no way to not get inspired by that experience, really,” Hernandez said. Of such wellspring, it’s where you take inspiration that counts. Here, the Proenza boys steered far clear of costume kitsch. They call this season pre-spring, a distinction they consider important, and look at it as product-driven. Happily, they’ve mastered the skill of filling their monthly deliveries with interesting clothes, clothes that feel like fashion.
Their primary fashion takeaway, Hernandez said, was, “those native costumes and ruffles, and that sense of deterioration. Things that felt like they were falling apart.” They interpreted the local dishabille subtly, in silhouettes with structured volume, shots of color and unfinished edges. A dress in pale gray silk tweed had sleeves that fell off the shoulders and precisely placed rows of frayed ruffles; a delicate top and skirt were crafted from layered strips of silk and crepe needle-punched together. Color came in textured knits and tropical patterns — one a vibrant print, another, an intense intarsia mink with matching shrug.
The designers also took fall’s grommet motif and incorporated it into coats, separates and accessories. “We took this opportunity to create a whole story around grommets, making it more accessible,” McCollough said. And beautifully so.