The pair combine artisan techniques with superlative fabrics on silhouettes that innovate and change the direction of fashion with each collection. The unlikely collision of opposites – graphic cut-outs on a knit dress; grommets, sequins and fur on a chiffon evening dress; plaited leather; shamanistic fringes; abstract prints – lends their design a visceral appeal. With “now” being so driven by slick interfaces, digital fingertips and a somewhat predictable “top to toe” formula to style, their vivid, strange and tactile world is ever more precious.
The Proenza Schouler point of view, tended and nurtured over the years, has created a brand with multiple dimensions. Loyal fans return season after season to connect with the new pieces that embody the moment.
For Autumn Winter that might be a flying panel skirt, a fur-shouldered, grommet and sequin party dress or a belted pony-skin coat. They challenge the design process, looking to art – abstract painter Helen Frankenthaler and sculptor Robert Morris informed the new collection – for inspiration.
The duo bought a 100-acre farm near the Berkshire mountains, upstate from New York, several years ago, where they retreat from the instant gratification energy of the city.
Here, a huge antique drapers table serves as their workstation and they are surrounded by views of nature. The young men grow vegetables, meditate and enjoy life’s slower pleasures with their two dogs. They live and work in an almost analogue state avoiding mobile phones and other distractions, including their neighbours.
Knowing when to go fast and when to slow down is a skill. Quality of life, as the great arts and crafts pioneer William Morris underlined in the late 19th century, is a prerequisite of quality design. It seems these two have got the formula right. And two is definitely better than one in this equation.