Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez's opening salvo for fall 2024? A pea coat, its construction and the bands that encircled the sleeves distinguished it from standard military surplus. This Proenza Schouler collection puts calm in quiet luxury; designers tweaked outerwear essentials, took inspiration from 90s fashion designer Helmut Lang, and stripped away everything that was superfluous. Last season's cloud prints and crystal embellishments, as well as the newly introduced monogram logo, had been cast aside.
During a studio preview, they discussed the state of the world (“wars, division”) and the state of fashion (the obligation to respect an inflexible schedule in particular). “The noise,” McCollough said. “It made us want to focus on ourselves, on something a little intimate.” “Going Home” by jazz musician Alice Coltrane creates a sort of meditative mood.
These weren't spa clothes – a trend we saw elsewhere last season – but they were swaddled, from the generous hoods that accessorized the jackets to the shawls that wrapped around bare shoulders and pinned at the center of the back at the above matching dresses worn as skirts. A trio of pretty long dresses in fine knit in ivory, red and soft peach, draped and hung at the waist, like sensual hugs.
As a counterpoint, the cut was clean and neat (note the pleats on the sleeves of a white three-button jacket) but not severe. The parkas, in particular, followed Lang's plan. Interestingly, Hernandez and McCollough's search for “peace, warmth, comfort and ease” led them into the 1990s. The Internet was poised to infiltrate every aspect of our lives, but it was an analog era compared to the relentlessness of our algorithmic present.
The temptation to snuggle up in cozy sheepskin vests and coats, of which there were plenty here, is very relevant, and the designers at Proenza Schouler can't go wrong by leaning into that instinct: we all want to feel good in these increasingly difficult times. The challenge for designers for the future will be to get out of this comfort zone.