Ella Emhoff makes her runway debut at Proenza Schouler
For AW21, Jack and Lazaro turn up the tailoring and experiment with playful prints to create a collection infused with newfound optimism.
Photography Daniel Shea
When faced with a global pandemic and an insurmountable number of challenges last season, Proenza Schouler dialled things down. Spending their lockdown in upstate New York, designers Jack McCullough and Lazaro Hernandez found themselves drawn to objects, so they created one of their own — a hardbound coffee table book featuring their SS21 collection. It was incredibly of the moment; their desire to slow down reflected in the comfortable elegance of their clothes and the easy, effortless silhouettes. These elements are integral to their AW21 collection, too, though this time the duo filmed their looks in motion at Water Mill’s Parrish Art Museum, and presented them on an interactive website. It features moving images and stills from all angles, but the most notable sighting: Ella Emhoff.
Vice President Kamala Harris’s stepdaughter stole the show at the inauguration in Miu Miu, and was signed to IMG Models not long after, but her appearance at New York Fashion Week marks her runway debut. Here, Ella wears a sumptuous leather trench coat atop a yellow and black tie-dyed dress, and closes the virtual show in a look fit for the businesswomen of today — a tailored-but-not-too-tailored suit, paired with a one-button blazer and wide leg trousers.
“[It’s] a complete wardrobe created to comfort, inspire and empower the modern-day woman,” Jack and Lazaro said in the show notes. “As a new year presents familiar challenges brightened by a newfound sense of optimism, the collection suggests a similar duality by mixing sharp, structured tailoring with soft, enveloping knitwear and thoughtful handmade elements.”
They may have upped the scale of their collection this time around, but Proenza Schouler’s designs remain as relevant as ever. Elongated dresses in warm greys, earthy greens and playful tie-dyes gather at the waist and hug the body, or flit out with fringed sleeves and billowing full hems. Chunky knitwear in the form of cable knit cardigans, halters and sleeveless dresses are accented with abstract crochet shapes or layered over loose wrap skirts. This season’s suit, modelled by Ella, is the standout, high lapelled, single-breasted and cut away. There’s an enviable ease in the way it’s also layered over toile printed jersey tops and playful knits. AW21 is “a return to a form of dressing that emphasises ease and practicality without ever abandoning a sense of luxury and sensual, tactile pleasure.”
This season, Jack and Lazaro were inspired by reduction, “the opposite of excess”. “For us, what feels right right now is just this idea of reducing and making things that are easy, and make one's life easier and less complicated,” they said. “That's what we think women want right now, what people want… things that just make your life easier.” Proenza Schouler have proven once more that when it comes to clothing, they do indeed know what people want, sometimes even before they want it. This season that looks like comfort and versatility with “attitude” …and a side of Ella Emhoff.