THE NEW AGE OF ELEGANCE; Serious Lovers of Old-Fashioned Glamour Are Flocking to Pay Homage to the Young Design Duo Behind 50s-Inspired US Label Proenza Schouler

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), June 25, 2006 | Go to article overview

THE NEW AGE OF ELEGANCE; Serious Lovers of Old-Fashioned Glamour Are Flocking to Pay Homage to the Young Design Duo Behind 50s-Inspired US Label Proenza Schouler


Byline: SARAH WHARTON

Powerful and glamorous women are getting schoolgirl giddy over fashion's new pinups Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, both 27 - the New York design duo behind Proenza Schouler. Aerin Lauder, Demi Moore, Liv Tyler, Penelope Cruz, Kristin Davis, and cinema's favourite mannequin, Scarlett Johansson, are all fans of their sumptuous creations. Following their show last year, Carine Roitfeld, editor of French Vogue and queen of edgy elegance, said she was 'ordering everything', then went on to model the entire collection during a showroom appointment. And even American Vogue's formidable editor Anna Wintour has been sufficiently moved by the pair to wave her influential wand over everything they've done to date (more later).

As the current collection flies out of some of the UK's most prestigious stores, Proenza Schouler could become America's most important fashion export to the UK since Marc Jacobs got us hooked on big buttons.

So why all the fuss? The label stands out because of the designers' dedication to making clothes that speak of old-fashioned glamour, but that are conceived in an entirely modern way.

'We are inspired by 50s couture - Dior, .

Right: Lazaro and Jack. Left: Lazaro with Claire Danes.

Below, clockwise from left: PS fans Marisa Tomei, Mandy Moore, Demi Moore and Kristin Davis

Balenciaga, Chanel - and the photographs of Richard Avedon and Irving Penn,' says Jack. 'It's terrible that element of luxury and beauty doesn't exist any more; at least, not on the streets. We try to make it appropriate for our age.' This season that means dressing women in mid-calf-length dresses that flow generously over the hips but haul everything in around the bust. Or promoting pencil-thin trousers with boxy tops. The Proenza Schouler look is always sharp then layered with the kind of opulent detailing Hollywood sirens used to swan around in (embroidery, brocade and beading). Each is carefully crafted to flatter the female body. No wonder starlets have stampeded the collections.

And the A-list fan base seems appropriate: Proenza Schouler's story reads a bit like a feel-good film script. Jack wanted to be a glass blower, Lazaro a doctor. Both ended up studying fashion at the revered Parsons the New School for Design in New York and were instantly drawn to each other. As early as their junior year in 1998, it 'became clear they shared a vision and a philosophy,' says Tim Gunn, head of Parsons's fashion department.

At college, Jack bagged a student placement at Marc Jacobs, while Lazaro spotted Anna Wintour getting on to a plane he was boarding at Miami and got the steward to hand her a note about himself, his love of fashion and his wish for an internship. It was written on a napkin, using crayon. Two weeks later a call came through from American uber-designer Michael Kors's studio. …

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