Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez want women to play with their clothes.
Their ath-glam pre-fall vision is about versatility, using plenty of jersey and stretch along with luxe hair calf, leopard pattern, velvet and feathers for a collection that could theoretically carry a woman from her Peloton to Pastis — if she fancies working out in ostrich-feather-trimmed bike shorts, that is.
While not exactly performance wear, these clothes were made to adapt and move — and looked fab doing it.
Take the green viscose silk knit twist racer-back trapeze dress, which could be wrapped and fitted in a number of ways using an oversized jeweled safety pin.
“It’s friendly to a lot of different body shapes,” said McCollough. “A lot of the dresses in particular are quite versatile — you can belt them in front and make them baggy and loose in back, or wear them open and tenty. We did all these button sleeves across the dresses that you can fasten all the way down or button off and on to create this kind of ruffle. We love clothes you can wear a lot of different ways.”
“It’s nice to have a playfulness with clothes,” Hernandez added.
A sleeveless black pleated jersey halter dress with crocheted midriff and bubble hem could go with leggings for day and heels at night, while a white crepe dress with adaptable, buttoned long sleeves had the added surprise of a leopard print lining revealing itself as the body moved.
A black napa glove leather pintucked dress seemed as light as a parachute, as did a floor length ecru sequined dress with the ease of a T-shirt, cinched with a belt in front and falling in a dramatic cape back.
“Last season, we were inspired by travel…and the freedom to be able to finally explore the world. This is taking notes of that season but bringing her back to the city.…It’s more urban and fanciful and fun,” said Hernandez.
Their customer may be back to the real world after her first post-lockdown vacation, but she’s not about to sacrifice comfort.
For instance, the designers have been refining their long, lean, side-buttoned tailored jacket with slim sleeves and rounded shoulders, a silhouette that first appeared on Ella Emhoff for fall 2021. For pre-fall, it’s less suity and more stretchy, in powder blue stretch crepe or abstract zebra stretch jacquard, with extra-long leggings unzipped at the ankles and spilling over square-toe loafers.
“It’s this great bias-stretch woven fabric that’s really stretchy on length grain and cross grain. We’ve been taking out the shoulder pads and linings, so it’s got the sharpness of a suit but the ease and stretch of a piece of knitwear. It feels modern,” said Hernandez.
The car coat was another key piece, rendered beautifully in lipstick red hair calf and worn over black wide-legged cropped stretch crepe trousers with feather trim pushing the return of the extreme flare. The designers’ new Braid bag, which comes in molded Neoprene with a soft, puffy braided strap, also had a sporty sophistication.
“We wanted to bring the attitude of athletic clothes to urban tailoring,” said Hernandez.
The designers have worked at opening up their brand to more women by launching the lower-priced White Label, incorporating more forgiving fabrics and expanding accessories offerings. This collection is another step in that direction.
Worth noting that while they have had multiseason success partnering with Birkenstock, they’ve never done a true athletic wear collaboration. Maybe it’s time.