The Proenza Schouler boys are delving into new territory this season – which, by the way, marks the brand’s 20th anniversary (yes… time flies). Arca, the trans musician from Venezuela, opened their show in a loose black tank whose hem was pulled over one shoulder, revealing white silk fringe over her bare midriff and a bubble skirt. From there Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez explored Latin flourishes, like flamenco ruffles peeking from the hems of generously cut bell-bottoms, polka dots of varying sizes decorating twist-front dresses, and piped bell sleeves that extended past the knees. In the past, they’ve tended to cite travel adventures or their tight circle of girlfriends as influences. But after the show, Hernandez wanted to talk about his roots. “I leaned into my Latin identity; I’m Cuban,” he said. The models wore their hair slicked back wet, and their skin was dewy. They looked as if they just stepped off a dance floor or climbed out of the sea. With videos of waterfalls projected onto the marble walls of the venue, the collection felt closer to nature than last season’s chic austerity. Crochet separates, nipple-freeing sheer lace shirts and dresses, and compact knit pieces that seemed to take their cues from swimwear looked like the work of designers who’d like to hold onto a summer feeling for as long as they can. “We’re just talking about the idea of energy, of joy, of sensuality; these things that sometimes we feel are lost in our lives, to be honest, and we’re trying to find a way to get them back,” McCollough said. Twenty years is no small milestone. How do you sustain energy and joy when you’ve been at something that long? The designers tapped into it this season by working with a community of weavers in Bolivia. “We did it all via email and conversations over the phone,” said Hernandez. “We were able to make four pieces with them and employ them for six months. They were so happy.”
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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