Proenza Schouler radiates with a laid-back, easy-going, summer-ish energy this season. There’s a reason why. Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough made Kauai their “home-office” during a period of pandemic time – it’s their favourite destination that they call their “sanctuary.” The island vibe influenced their new collection, which mixed scuba and surfing motifs, a color palette plucked from nature, and a few handmade leis from Maui with their more urban fare. Backstage after their Little Island show, they clarified that Hawaii wasn’t a literal reference, but rather a starting point for the collection’s ambience. Most of all, “they’re joyful clothes to step out in the world again.” There were suits, but they come in vivid shades of coral or orange cotton jacquard. Basic black, meanwhile, isn’t so basic when suit bottoms are cut tight like bicycle shorts with swingy fringe below the hems. A pair of block-printed floral dresses with looped hems had verve; the designers pointed out that the prints were the same on the front and back of the fabric rather than being reversed, a complicated technique to pull off. The point of the collection was not to look complicated – who needs too much sophistication after the tumultuous times? The gowns, in gorgeous acid colors, were made from fine gauze jersey, perfect for beach strolling. “They stretch and move, we all want to be comfortable.” This was one of the best Proenza Schouler collections in seasons, even though some Phoebe-Philo-Célinisms can’t be ruled out of their vocabulary.
Collages by Edward Kanarecki.