Proenza Schouler: Talking Heads

Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez Explain Why the Short Film is Back

Proenza Schouler is the brainchild of New York’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, who launched their label (conjoining their mothers’ maiden names) in 2002 and quickly became the new darlings of the fashion industry, winning the CFDA Perry Ellis award for new talent in 2003. The duo's designs mix high-end glamor with fun, ingenious references to contemporary sportswear and youth culture, often incorporating lurid dyeing techniques and abstract prints (for a good time, check out their dyeing how-to on the Martha Stewart show). We got them talking about film, fall and fanaticism.

Why did you decide to make a video for your fall collection?

Jack McCollough: Things of that nature can kind of a have a life now. We grew up watching music videos on MTV and then suddenly it was like: Tila Tequila. But now there’s the whole blog world, these short movies and videos.

Lazaro Hernandez:  Back in the day they started to do videos for songs…we thought, well let’s do a video for every collection. Why not? Let’s put it on a website. And let’s get a different person who fits with every collection. Harmony is just one person. We didn’t know him personally, but we have a lot of friends in common so we asked them: "Do you think Harmony would make a movie for us?"

He's generally so interested in making people uncomfortable...

LH: We’re really loving that. He was perfect. We gave him all these influences and he came back with this Nashville film. We were like, “Awesome!” We were thinking more of New York kids, school kids. It opened our eyes to a new angle of the collection that we’d not really thought about.

You tend to have pretty specific inspirations for each season. Does it always change?

LH: Totally—it’s attention deficit disorder. We get bored really easy and move on to the next thing.

JM: We’re consumed in whatever world we’re involved with. We explore it intensely, ravage it, take everything and bleed it dry.

LH: It’s the same with show music. Anytime we use something we actually listen to personally, I can’t listen to it anymore. We were saying the other day how weird it will be when we go back to a previous inspiration. When you start referencing yourself then maybe it’s time to retire.
Can you guys talk about spring 2011 inspirations at all?

Spring started off going in a totally different direction, and now it’s completely metamorphosed into something else. Sometimes we start with a really specific direction and then it stays exactly that until the end of the season—the show ends up looking exactly like the sketches. Fall was very much like that, whereas this season has had all these curve balls.

JM: Collections that happen like that actually become less fanatical.

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