The roaring twenties? Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough aren’t buying it, at least for the moment. “You want to hold onto some of that ease, some of that comfort, some of that intimacy that you had with the pandemic,” Hernandez said on a Zoom call. “But then you want to introduce things that feel a little bit more nipped, more tucked, something a little bit more tailored.”
The Proenza Schouler designers have made a collection for the liminal space of our half vaccinated world. They’re emphasizing knits in the form of ribbed tanks and pull-on pants that puddle at the ankles, and their high-buttoning jackets are made to be as easy-wearing as cardigans. Silhouettes are grounded by flat shoes, either fuzzy house slippers or thick-soled, heavy-tread boots of the sort that have recently been trending.
The nipping and tucking Hernandez talked about was achieved in a couple different ways: A top and pants in oversized proportions were swaddled at the waist and fixed with a gold pin, while tunic-length bouclé tweed tops were slightly peplumed at the hips, creating a New Look-ish line that they kept modern by layering leather shorts and those big boots underneath.
The clearest sign of the change to come, once we get past the pandemic, might be a chunky knit sweater and matching skirt combo that stands out not just for its eye-catching shade of marigold but also for the fresh mini-length of its skirt. It’s not a 21st century take on flapper dress, by any stretch, but it is the first time we’ve seen bare knees at Proenza Schouler in years.
In its leggy, unencumbered attitude it looks like a compelling direction for the duo. Aided and abetted by the upcoming Costume Institute exhibition, fashion is moving into a nouveau American period, one that prizes functionality as the flip side of chic. Hernandez and McCollough are the New York establishment; they’ll have more to say on the subject.