Tommy Hilfiger and Jon Batiste’s prep pep rally aside, there’s a tinge of melancholia on the fall 2024 runways so far this season, which is hardly surprising considering the state of things.
“It’s probably the most amount of black clothing looks we’ve ever done,” said Jack McCollough backstage after the Proenza Schouler show, where the designers showed a minimalist, nearly all-black collection that focused on silhouette and softness, from sturdy outerwear (boiled wool peacoats and double-face wool coats with shielding collars), to hand-trimmed shearling coats and fringed blanket dresses worn askew with the torso visible through the slashed back, scarfy layers enveloping the shoulders, and a giant safety-pin fastening.
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Revealing a hint of bare midriff beneath all the layers, those finale dresses were a metaphor for what the designers were trying to get at this season: the contradiction between wanting to put yourself out there and the desire to wrap yourself in a security blanket.
“The fashion calendar is so fast, the world feels upside-down now, we work from our heart and instinct,” explained Lazaro Hernandez. “It’s about protecting yourself and enveloping yourself in softness, beauty, luxury, things that make you feel good.”
They played a lot with simple shapes, showing net dresses with front panels that flip back to become capes, and shiny leather sheaths constructed from simple rectangular forms. Sheer and opaque combination jersey dresses concealed and revealed, and viscose turtlenecks trapped collared button-down shirts beneath, “blurring out real life,” as McCollough put it. The sum total was stepped back and quiet, but perhaps a little too much so.
The designers, like so many of their New York peers, are trying to figure out how to navigate the ever-changing waters of fashion and retail, and keep the momentum going from last fall when they reset their collection with a focus on wardrobe pieces. They’ve stopped releasing pre -fall, so they can channel their creativity into the two main collections that are both editorial and commercial. “Basically, we’re trying to slow everything down,” said Hernandez of the treadmill, explaining that they don’t want to sell a collection in January and then another in February.
They’ve also started to look for opportunity internationally, seeing pickup in Europe, where they recently opened shops-in-shop in several department stores, and in China.
“I think fashion back when we were starting was in such a different place,” said McCollough. “Most designers, every single show was a totally different thing. And there also weren’t so many designers. Now there’s so much noise. And I think you’ve really got to stay tight and consistent, otherwise people get confused as to who you are.”
Launch Gallery: Proenza Schouler Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection
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