It’s been a year since Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez returned to the New York Fashion Week calendar from Paris and the guys have got their groove back. “We locked ourselves in the studio all of August, just working,” said Hernandez, sounding like that was a truly good thing. Recently, he and McCollough have toggled between couture-ish experimentation and pared way down sportswear. This collection struck a satisfying medium, balancing structured tailoring with soft draping. Their dresses had a high wearability quotient, too.
Not coincidentally, the designers said they took most of their inspiration from the women in their office, many of whom have started having children and therefore know a thing or two about balancing. “They’re such badasses,” Hernandez raved. He and McCollough also mentioned their own mothers, and said they conjured up youthful memories of how they used to dress for work, which explains the ’80s-ish proportions of the jackets and pants with their strong shoulders and elevated waists. The Proenza Schouler commuter wears a slouchy trench, opaque black tights, and white trainers—imagine Dakota Johnson, hair slicked back behind dark shades, in a 2020 remake of Working Girl. The designers are also launching a collaboration with Birkenstock and a couple of the models carried the sandals in their hands, the way you sometimes see women in the city do: Once they’re out the office door, they slip into their comfy shoes.
The evening story was about draping. A pair of silk jersey styles with their many tiny pleats evoked Madame Grès. Other dresses with generous folds of fabric cascading from the hips had the confident, easy sensibility of a sarong. “It’s not aggressive,” said McCollough. “We don’t need more aggression.” But the Proenza Schouler woman is no pushover. To get the message across, Michel Gaubert put Lesley Gore on the soundtrack, singing, “You don’t own me, I’m not just one of your many toys.” There’s beauty in strength.