WORSHIPPED BY THE ONLY THE COOLEST OF COOL-GIRLS, PROENZA SCHOULER HAS PLAYED AN ESSENTIAL ROLE IN THE REINVIGORATING OF AMERICAN HIGH FASHION. WITH ITS LUXURIOUS BUT WEARABLE COLLECTIONS INFLUENCED BY CONTEMPORARY ART AND AMERICAN YOUTH CULTURE, PROENZA SCHOULER HAS A FIRM GRIP ON THE INTERNATIONAL FASHION SCENE.
Ultra-modern tailoring infused with some retro, excellent craftsmanship, custom-developed materials, and an attention to detail brought together with a refined American ease is what has not only young fashionistas going mad for New York-based brand Proenza Schouler. In little more than a decade, designers and founders Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have managed to establish Proenza Schouler as one of the leading womenswear and accessory brands in contemporary fashion.
TOGETHER FROM THE START
Founders Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough met during their studies at the renowned Parson’s School of Design in New York, where they worked with Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs, respectively. In their final year they collaborated on their thesis collection, which was bought in its entirety by Barney’s New York. In 2002 the collection would become the first to be presented under the name Proenza Schouler – Proenza being the maiden name of Hernandez’ mother and Schouler that of McCollough’s mother.
MORE THAN THE HYPE
In 2004, the Council of Fashion Designer of America (CFDA) and Vogue Fashion Fund launched their award committee with the objective to maintain the vitality of New York’s fashion scene by helping up-and-coming designers based in the U.S. to expand and secure their businesses through funding and mentoring by industry leaders, as well as providing them with global access. The first winner to be awarded this much sought-after prize was Proenza Schouler. With its rethinking of wardrobe staples like button-downs – with a custom print – or trousers cut straight like jeans within a minimal silhouette, Proenza Schouler represented a refined and experimental take on Americanness.
Self-proclaimed dorks, Lazaro and Hernandez, embodied a sense of coolness without trying, which gained the brand a reputation as one of the most talked about labels in the fashion industry. Rounded off with technical prowess, an emphasis on tailoring and attention to detail, they were ready for international acclaim.
HERE TO STAY
Only three years later, Proenza Schouler wins the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Womenswear Designer of the Year award, further asserting the brand’s recognition as one of fashion’s most extraordinary newcomers. With that support, Proenza Schouler was able to expand into accessories, launching its first handbag and shoe collections in 2008. Included in that first handbag collection was the PS1, an upscale classic satchel bag that has since become one of the brand’s signature pieces.
Today, Proenza Schouler is sold in over 100 of the most exclusive retail outlets worldwide, including Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York, Harvey Nichols, and Colette, as well as in their two NYC-based boutiques, which were designed by Adjaye Associates and opened in 2012 and 2013.
In their latest collection Lazaro and Hernandez continue to offer an edgy, youthful take on modern luxury – the basic t-shirt gets a make-over in black leather with crochet trims, an Argyle knit sweater is deconstructed with the Argyle pattern as a cut-out. The Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear collection was shown in the relocated Whitney Museum in New York, maintaining the brand’s close affiliation to the art scene. Referencing the richly worked textures, Suzy Menkes commends the designers for “Pushing fashion towards art & craft”. 12 years after its founding, Proenza Schouler continues to successfully inject excellent craftsmanship and attention to detail with a sophisticated ease, making it one of the most sought-after American designer brands to date.
Proenza Schouler is instantly recognizable for its cool-girl-chic where tailoring meets experimental textures and materials, often in shades of dark neutrals – hyper-modern but with a hint of retro.
Only founded in 2002, Proenza Schouler is a relatively young brand to have made such an impact and established itself firmly among the big fashion houses. Its youthfulness is part of what has maintained the hype and the success of the brand.
Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez collaborate on their senior thesis collection at Parsons School of Design, which becomes the first collection under the name Proenza Schouler. Barneys New York buys the entire collection, giving the young designer duo a kick-start.
Proenza Schouler wins the Swarovski/Perry Ellis Award for Ready to Wear and the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award. Proenza Schouler presents its first runway collection at the National Arts Club in New York.
Proenza Schouler wins the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award and Valentino Fashion Group buys a 45 percent stake in the brand, further securing its future.
Proenza Schouler launches the highly coveted PS1 handbag collection, which has since become a signature piece to the brand.
Proenza Schouler wins the CFDA Accessory Designer of the Year Award. Continuing its presence in the art world, Proenza Schouler is featured in filmmaker Loïc Prigent's documentary 'The Day Before.'
Proenza Schouler collaborates with filmmaker Harmony Korine on an original short film featuring the Fall 2010 collection.
Proenza Schouler wins their third CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award.
Proenza Schouler partners with Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, the historic Parisian department store, for an exhibition in Paris showcasing the world of Proenza Schouler. The project features a display of 80 iconic silhouettes from past runway collections, an interactive 3-D cube installation, a documentary about the brand, and a pop-up shop with an exclusive capsule collection.
Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez select some of their coolest muses including Liv Tyler, Chloë Sevigny, Liya Kebede, Binx Walton, Fei Fei Sun, Laura Love, and Olympia Scarry, among others, to star in an abstract short film titled "Legs Are Not Doors" to showcase their spring 2015 collection.
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