Proenza Schouler: Where Art and Commerce Converge on Park Avenue

Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez showcased a groundbreaking collection at Phillips Auction House on Park Avenue, making it one of the most impactful shows of the current season. Their choice of venue, a stripped-down viewing gallery, perfectly mirrored the collection’s return to its core elements. In an unprecedented move, the duo conducted approximately 90 fittings in the past week, more than double the usual number for such a significant show.

«As designers, we prioritize creativity for its own sake over mere commerce. However, we are conscious that our creations are meant to be worn, so we constantly navigate the delicate balance between art and commerce,» explained Jack.

«Choosing Phillips as our venue is symbolic; it’s where art faces judgment and literal pricing,» added Lazaro.

Both designers have artistic backgrounds, having studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and Parsons School of Design. Their early experimental shows contribute to the distinctive strength of their current designs, with each look unveiling previously unexplored fabrics and unexpected cuts.

The collection’s focal point was translucent techy fabrics, featuring airy technical knit dresses paired with mesh tank tops and captivating cloud-print veil cocktails. An elegant touch was the addition of plaquettes to the back of redingotes, town coats, and blazers, introducing allure. Cock feathers adorned shoulders and arms, infusing a hint of stylistic subversion.

A glossy finish, from lightly lustrous ecru leather jackets to shiny transparent techy bodycon dresses, added allure. Some dresses featured sequin shards so large that they audibly jangled as they moved, evoking a watery effect.

Models wore their hair loosely and barely combed, maintaining a nonchalant and slightly undone look. Several tops intentionally had asymmetrical cuts, twisted around the torso in the opposite direction. Finally, cropped knit corsets proudly displayed the Proenza logo, a fusion of two Ps forming an S.

«We’ve been refining it for three years, trying countless variations. In the end, it was as simple as two Ps making an S,» Jack humorously remarked.

The show followed Peter Do’s underwhelming debut for Helmut Lang, sparking discussions about Proenza Schouler as the ideal choice to lead Helmut Lang’s revival.

In reality, Jack and Lazaro embody the spirit of Helmut Lang, crafting elegant yet subtly edgy clothing—a fusion of chic subversion and art tailored for today’s dynamic women.