There was a trio of outdoor waterfront runway shows on Wednesday night, each with its own reason for being.
For Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, the setting was Little Island, the park and amphitheater perched atop stilts in the Hudson River that might as well be a world away.
Right after they showed their resort collection in June, the designers escaped — for the first time since lockdown — to Kauai, Hawaii. And while they swear spring 2022 is not a Hawaii collection, there were certainly signs in the festive fringe, which came out first on bike shorts that were weird but somehow wonderful, in the looped jersey gowns draped like sails, and the beach-ready flat Scuba-stretch sandals.
Not to mention the leis — monochromatic for the runway.…A model carried one with her leather clutch bag, and it may be the best accessory of the season. Bring the luau wherever you go.
But it’s true, more than any one destination, the collection was about the freedom to travel and just to move. The clothes were made for it, with one foot in vacation mode and the other in the city, because who knows where anyone will be six months from now?
The designers leaned into the power of bold color, simple silhouettes and graphicism, with a palette of marigold (it’s everywhere this season), neon pink, lipstick red and electric blue zebra patterns on fabulous wrap coats, and block print floral jersey dresses to throw over leggings or whatever. Tailoring, too, in tonal flower jacquard, was structured but easy.
A woman would look pretty much anywhere in a yellow turtleneck tunic, gently shaped to the waist and trimmed in black beaded fringe, straight black trousers and square-toed loafers — like a modern-day Audrey Hepburn with oomph. The simplicity of it all was its own kind of escape.
With clarity and focus, they stripped back the excess and found the essence of American sportswear in the time of COVID-19: “A celebration of a newfound freedom which also feels a little fragile,” McCollough said.