New York Women’s Fashion Week F/W 2019 Part 2: Proenza Schouler

As often in February, New York City is covered in snow with freezing temperatures. Thank the lord for heartwarming fashion moments.

Proenza Schouler F/W 2019

It’s called evolution when the young become mature but not old yet. As in nature, the fashion industry and its players change constantly. The Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have had a nearly two-decade run of being a relevant and cool brand with a clear idea of cut and line coming to live on arts and crafts surfaces. That’s an achievement in itself. But while for a long time their innocent behavior was part of the success formula, they have now come to the point where only one thing matters to stay alive: To make the right clothes. And they succeeded today by owning an industrial raw space in one of the new fancy development high rises around Hudson Yards with an utterly urban edge collection. With full views of the Gotham cityscape, they metaphorically anchored their woman as a tough city girl. After the recent trips to Paris during Haute Couture this was a statement they needed to recalibrate their label.

A raw floor in one of the breathtaking new Hudson Yards developments where Proenza Schouler F/W 2019 clothes looked like they soared over Manhattan

The tailoring?

Funny, what if they only focused on modern suiting for women? While sharp lines with slouchy volumes have been part of their codes, they never really delved into that completely. But the show’s opening look of a white single breasted suit with ample lapel and wide but cropped trousers worn with a black scarf knit followed by the same look just worn with a longer coat and panel knit felt super fresh and authorative.

Looks #1 and #2 from the Proenza Schouler F/W 2019 runway collection

What’s gone?

Often Proenza Schouler anchored their shows based on their gut. If they loved photo prints, they would send out an entire collection of it; or American quilts and other arts and crafts inspired fabrics could make an entire show. The surfaces were often the core. Here, they harnessed their fabric research and focused on their outerwear as in the knock out trench coat on Julia Nobis. Their woman has grown up.

Model Julia Nobis in Proenza Schouler F/W 2019

The state of mind?

Whenever brands that are not called Chanel, Dior or Hermès speak of signatures and house codes and their women, they step into a minefield. While their press release read like a New Yorker essay about modern women, it made no mention of constructions or fabrics. A bold move that can veer on hybris. But then this duo is also very keen to forget about the past and step into the cold New York reality. Let’s not forget, most of the competitors they used to have, are gone.

The Isa Genzken factor?

From Phoebe Philo at Celine to them, many designers have fallen for the attraction of towering German contemporary artist Isa Genzken. Her work can easily be interpreted in a fashion sense while it is a sociological and theoretical interpretation of the human condition. Last season, they collaborated with Genzken for a mini exhibition. Her norm core sculptures brought them to an exaggerated usage of denim, which was new to their repertoire. It showed up again today on Swiss model of the moment Veronika Kunz in a canvas trench coat with denim bib.

Denim vest juxtaposed with classic trench coat

A real strength?

In fact, their outerwear. Specifically the coats have become their secret signature taking them back to their very first collections where their yellow raincoats created a new version of American sportswear.

The coat: The Proenza Schouler core