To fête their status as the first American designers to curate A Magazine, Proenza Schouler's Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez put their spin on the time-tested tradition of the American house party. The party went down at a townhouse in SoHo Mews, which is kind of like SoHo's answer to Melrose Place. Guests sat on red white and blue Southwestern printed blankets and hung from tire swings with buckets of PBR at an arms reach. We caught up with Lazaro and Jack to talk about what went into making their editorial debut.
In your interview with Ingrid Sichy, you listed Donald Judd, Robert Smithson, and Robert Ryman as influences on your Spring 09 collection. Is there anyone you've been looking at for Spring 10?
Ha! Going to try not to give away too much but this next collection isn't too heavily art-influenced although we’ve been looking at some Dan Flavin stuff and also at some Anselm Reyle things. It's more influenced by surf culture and the like, and by a recent trip we made out to Tahiti.
What music have you been playing in the studio lately?
We've been listening to a lot of Brain Eno lately. Tappa Zuckie, OMD, Fleetwood Mac, D.a.F, Stephin Merritt... pretty varied stuff.
I noticed that you listed all American artists, along with US icons like Rosie the Riveter, and images of women in factories in the 40s as inspiration as well. You also said you were excited to be the first American designers to curate A, and definitely gave the issue an American slant. What do you think about American fashion and its place in the international fashion industry?
We just felt that things have become so global. There's almost no boundaries anymore. Things are so fluid culturally. We just wanted to sort of remind people as well as ourselves about the creative strengths found here. We think it's important to sometimes think a little less macro and look around at what's right next to you. There's still a lot in the U.S. that’s underappreciated. We haven't really mined everything yet.
The older era of American Fashion designers like Ralph Lauren for example, have a very different, more overt sense of nationalism in the identity of their brand. How do you think the concept of American Fashion is changing with the younger designers of your generation?
We have huge respect for Ralph Lauren and how he has managed to create this sort of really American thing. We think somehow though that all those older influences he has mined, although great, are limiting. There's more to American culture than the New England prep. Some of the most important artistic movements of the 20th century were born here. They have gone on to influence many international movements and continue to be culturally relevant.
You used pieces from your collection in Kalup Linzy's "Fuck U" for your presentation at Pitti W. Have you ever considered costume design?
We wouldn’t be opposed to it at all. It would be interesting to design something under auspices different than mass production with one character in mind. The right project hasn’t come along yet but its something we would consider if the project was right. How did you go about choosing the contributors for the magazine? Tell us about the process of working with them to create the content.
We basically just asked our friends to go around and reinterpret things we found interesting and document it using their own specific vocabulary. Some are American, some are not, but the subject of their pieces were always something American. We left it up to them to decide how they would approach their piece. Besides being friends, they were also people who we respected enormously. In terms of the fashion section, we picked a few stylists with very different aesthetics and asked them to reinterpret some of our older collections. We were blown away by how those images turned out. We have a huge respect for stylists and we find it so interesting how a collection’s vibe could totally change depending on how it’s put together. We basically wanted to give older collections a new life and not render them irrelevant just because they were older. Things don’t have to be thrown away just because they aren't “off the season”.
What did you dress like in high school?
Jack: I made my own clothes on tour with The Dead. Cords mostly.
Lazaro: Tacky Miami MC Hammer shit. What are your favorite articles of clothing?
We’re definitely T-shirt and jeans guys. Thinking of clothes on a personal level is the last thing we want to be doing when that’s all we do for other people. Many of the features, like "Spiral Jetty", "Land Art:Scarring and Healing", and "Double Entrance/Double Exit" have a reference to nature at their core. Why did you chose to include this theme?
The “Great Outdoors” is something really important to us. Living in the city, we find it terribly claustrophobic sometimes and recently got a farm in Massachusetts that we spend a lot of time at. The pictures that Roe Etheridge shot were actually at our farm. We think this type of thing is an important counterbalance to the “urban” thing we are constantly fed. Balance is important. It’s interesting how all the land work in the issue was done in the middle of nowhere. There's a sense that when you remove the clutter of city life from ones life, it somehow put the city much more into perspective and you actually enjoy it more when you are there.
What's your favorite thing about getting out of the city?
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Turning phones, computers and everything off and skipping town a little too often with a few friends...