Whilst they now have Wang as competition for kings of cool in the New York, Proenza Schouler still have that buzz that makes their show feel the best party in town.
Not that any designer would dare to admit they want to be “cool” or have anyone see their shows as a who’s who. This is about the clothes after all, and they were fun, challenging and desirable, riffing off construction and the work of artist Ron Nagle. There was wood grain (not to be mistaken for animal print) and an inspired wool recreation of those satisfyingly mottled carpet pads. Sculptor Nagle’s rounded shapes certainly influenced their new shoulders and sleeves (which were a more accessible version of Thom Browne’s from earlier this week). As ever, the boys proved themselves to be masters of the modern-day palette - no other colour scheme on the New York catwalks feels quite so contemporary. i-D had a mo with Jack and Lazaro backstage.
Why keep us all in an infra-red room before the show started? I thought I was going to have a seizure!
Jack: I was worried someone was going to have a seizure! I felt like I was going to have a seizure in rehearsals. We liked the idea of putting a red light in there and have people adjust to that, so when the bright, intense white light came on, it felt like this weird new colour.
Lazaro: Someone said to me that it felt like a sunset. There was a serenity to it. We didn’t have any music before the show either.
Then you banged out a remix of Missy’s Work It!
Lazaro: Hell yeah! There was an energy to it, a toughness to it.
The girls looked tough.
Jack: The music was really indicative of the ideas we were talking about at the beginning of the season. Really kinetic, quite fast and not too serious – a bit of humour to it as well.
Lazaro: Yeah we wanted to have some fun with it again.
Like with the material on the invitation, which was also on the clothes.
Lazaro: Yeah, the carpet pads. We put that in the wool coats – we were inspired by that texture.
Jack: It was just one of the many textures we were looking at at the beginning of the season. We thought, “This would be cool to develop into a fabric. How could it be done?” We did hundreds of trials to get that to what you saw.
Lazaro: We were interested in building materials – that’s where that came from. The wood is also a building material.
So the prints were wood grain, but could almost have been animal print.
Jack: Yeah, I wonder what people are going to say about them.
Lazaro: It was more woody than animal. I don’t want people to think it was animal! It wasn’t animal print! It was all about wood and furnishings and insulation. All construction, I guess.
Can you talk about the construction of the shoulders and sleeves? All very rounded.
Jack: Yeah, and we wanted a nipped waist on the jackets, a bigger sleeve and a collar for the first time in a while. We always do a lot of crew neck or collarless things. And with a slouchier trouser and a flat, or a viscose knit long skirt.
What about the flats – you’ve done some pretty iconic heels before.
Jack: We developed a lot of heels for this collection as well, but flats just felt like the right direction to go in, especially with these shorter length skirts. Something about being lower to the ground. And putting the girls in flats almost drew a line across the floor in a way.
Lazaro: We made a few flats before the show just in case, then when we were putting it all together, we realised everything was looking good with flats, but we only had 15, so we were like, “Oh my god!” So we sent someone to Italy and the factory made more shoes in two days, then they flew back and they just got here today!
The black, mixing with different colours reminded me of the Warhol room at Dia: Beacon.
Jack: Yeah! It’s a great room. It’s interesting how they affect black. Colour’s interesting - depending on what you put next to it, you’ll see it in different ways.
So where you going to celebrate tonight?
Jack: We’re going to dinner, then out to Westway!