Old Classics. Proenza Schouler SS20

While a less sophisticated collection from Eckhaus Latta feels right once in a while, Proenza Schouler’s new season offering again misses something that used to make the label so in-demand. Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough are very good at tailoring, and even better at cutting a fluid-y, silk dress (the printed one worn by Adut Akech is the biggest highlight of the collection). But in the sea of great blazers and dresses we’ve seen last season and again this season in New York, this doesn’t make Proenza stand out. It seems to me that the Proenza Schouler identity is gradually getting blurrier and less distinctive. Not that the spring-summer 2020 collection is bad: it has lots of classics, like an over-sized coat or an XXL shoulder bag. However, those clothes don’t spark any feelings in me. Where’s the bolder, art-ier Proenza Schouler? Hope it will come back soon.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

City. Proenza Schouler AW19

Proenza Schouler’s autumn-winter 2019 is one of those collection that need a second look. At first I thought that Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough’s line-up felt repetitive. But then, I realised how strong this collection is. It’s all about construction, whether we’re speaking of a dress’ hem or a coat’s lapel. Tailoring was definitely the best part, as it looked ready for the big, urban New York life. Just look at the wool, over-sized suits! Up to now it’s the only power dressing that matters this NYFW. The slouchy, black knits with scarves attached to collars softened the mannish proportions. Let’s move on to outerwear. Veronika Kunz looked just fire in a garment that looked like a denim vest patched over a classical trench coat. I also adored the deconstructed leather coat on Julia Nobis, inspired by Sol LeWitt’s incomplete cubes. It’s the second season since Proenza Schouler came back home from Paris, and it’s clear where the New York boys feel best…

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Their Classics. Proenza Schouler Pre-Fall 2019

For many brands, a pre-collection isn’t just the season with the longest shelf life. It’s also the right moment to remind its classics; brand codes; signature pieces – whatever you call it. Proenza Schouler‘s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez are aware of that – and they aren’t afraid to repeat themselves, in a healthy, balanced way. Tie-dye print is the label’s long-time friend, and with its major success as a turtleneck last winter, the PS boys brought it back in new colour combinations. Sensual slip-dresses with feminine detailing were especially present in Proenza Schouler’s first collections, more or less a decade ago. Now they are back, styled with big pants and masculine blazers. Spring-summer 2019’s XXL-bag is staying for a longer, too, just as washed denim. Although we’ve seen all that, let’s admit this: the collection looks good. Even very good.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Boys in Paris. Proenza Schouler SS18

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Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough are the boys, who for years defined the contemporary chic of New York’s fashion scene. Hearing about their unexpected departure to Paris last season was quite a surprise. Everybody asked: what will New York fashion week be like without Proenza Schouler? Well, one thing’s sure – the Big Apple undoubtedly sobs that it didn’t witness one of the couples’ strongest and most beautiful collections.

But why Paris? And why so early for spring-summer 2018, while it will be presented by other labels in September? First, the brand decided to expand its recognition internationally, as Paris, not New York, is the place where all eyes look at. Second, the designers decided to dissolve the pre- and main-collection into one, consistent line-up, leaving more space (and time) for their intimate, creative process. Vetements done it, with success; Burberry has a similar business model; Rodarte, which presented its collection the same day in the French capital, takes the same risk this season.

But lets talk about the clothes, which in the end are the most important. As I’ve mentioned earlier, that was a truly impressive collection. Form low skirts and ready-for-everything blazers to statuesque ruffled dresses and stark red florals, Lazaro and Jack searched for a balance between arty edginess and comfortable elegance. Wait, we’re in Paris, just on time for haute couture shows – this explains the last looks, pimped up by the local petites mains. Looking like moving fluffy clouds from a distance, those were intricately inserted feathers on Sasha Pivovarova’s art gallery owner jacket or Mariacarla Boscono’s show-stopping evening dress à la Black Swan. Actually, each look is worth a paragraph. Also, please take a look at the low-heeled shoes with pointy-toes, kept in simple black or embellished with colourful beads. An instant need.

I think that a warm ‘bienvenue’ is the right term to greet Proenza Schouler at their new, European home!

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki (backdrop: combination of different installations and artworks by Kate MccGwire).