To hear Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez tell it backstage, their new Proenza Schouler collection was just parkas, polos, blouses, and pleated skirts. “Our version of American sportswear,” Hernandez said. Of course, that’s only the half of it. The designers may have started out with basic building blocks, but that’s not where their experiments ended up. Proenza’s parkas were made from laser-cut and color-blocked leather; polos were hand-knit, with leather panels inset across the chest. Want a T-shirt? Theirs were leather with crocheted seams. As for the leather pants, one leg was a different color than the other.
All this played out in the wake of the news last month that LVMH, parent company to Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Céline, et al., was eyeing a minority stake in Proenza. In that regard, you could call this show an audition, one held in front of a crowd that was easily the coolest of New York fashion week, well-stocked with artists famous and soon to be, and girls everywhere you looked in Proenza Schouler’s latest dresses. And, alright, those pants were silly, but not many other runways in New York deliver the kind of thrill that this one did, especially at a moment when the industry has elevated normcore (whatever the hell that really means). You heard it here: Proenza’s deconstructed argyle sweater and unraveling fringe skirt is the look of the week: cool, and instantly peg-able in much the same way as the neon zebra-print dresses from Fall that were in the audience tonight. On the basis of that outfit, they probably deserve the LVMH imprimatur.