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Proenza Schouler Has a Post-Covid-19 World on the Mind for Fall 2021

Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez designed a collection meant to clothe customers as social distancing gives way to socializing again.

As Covid-19 vaccines begin to roll out and the world begins to hope for an end to social distancing, there's a curiosity about what people will want to wear as they re-enter the world of socializing. Sure, we're all burnt out on our sweats, but can we ever really give up the comfort dressing we've grown so accustomed to at home?

Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez had that idea front of mind when designing Proenza Schouler's Fall 2021 collection, creating pieces they hope will straddle both worlds when they hit stores starting in September. 

On a Zoom with press, the design duo explained how they wanted to blend ease with sensuality, which resulted in clothes that simultaneously reveal a flash of skin and cocoon the body — think jackets that cinch at the back to create a waist and reveal a hint of stomach, or wrap skirts that open to show the leg as it moves. Knitwear in particular was a huge focus: "We love how it fits to the body without so much construction and fuss," McCollough says. 

Proenza Schouler continues to experiment with miniskirts in a way that feels modern and on-brand, either layering them under longer leather skirts or on top of chiffon skirts with crochet macrame at the bottom to add weight. And for Fall 2021, it built the layering and the styling into the clothes structurally, cutting knit yak cashmere in a way so that dresses and skirts lay artfully folded around the body, including layers of luxe silk under weightier fabrics for movement and adding waistband-like details alongside leather velcro straps to create the illusion of multiple pieces. 

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There are a few prints in the collection — "we wanted to bring a little bit of nature into the mix so it doesn't feel too cold," Hernandez notes — as well as more experimentation with tie-dye, something that has become a Proenza Schouler signature. Here, it appears more subtly on flowing dresses, making for some easy eveningwear options. McCollough and Hernandez's other proposition for evening are strapless dresses cut to mimic a high-waisted menswear pant, featuring a built-in corset for shape but an otherwise straight shape. "It's a contemporary way of doing eveningwear that's not frivolous," Hernandez says.

And, of course, the collection has already gone viral thanks to one model: buzzy new fashion favorite Emma Emhoff. The Proenza Schouler show is her first official gig since being signed to IMG, heading straight into the shoot after two weeks of quarantine post-Inauguration Day

Hernandez says Emhoff is exactly the type of woman they'd like to dress. "She represents this new moment in American history where it's a sense of hope and optimism, and intelligence is back in the mix; she represents this new chapter of freshness and she's almost a fashion ambassador for this new moment in American politics," he explains. "She's very much the girl of the moment to us and we're honored for her to do her first fashion thing with us."

See the complete Proenza Schouler Fall 2021 collection in the gallery below:

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