French Institute Alliance Française meets the Tribeca Film Festival

Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez speak on fashion and film.

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Sally Singer with Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler
Sally Singer with Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Spring Fashion Talks at the French Institute Alliance Française kicked off with Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler, moderated by Creative Digital Director for Vogue, Sally Singer, and crossed paths with the Tribeca Film Festival as the Haute Couture on Film series continued.

Inside the Florence Gould Hall Theater on April 15, while Bao Nguyen's Live from New York! was opening Tribeca at the Beacon Theatre, McCollough and Hernandez were referencing Harmony Korine, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Cate Blanchett, Gerhard Richter, Pearl Jam, Cindy Sherman, Kurt Cobain and, at one point, Sydney Pollack's Out Of Africa, complete with mid-century craftsmanship and mother nature as shaping Proenza Schouler creations. The designers appeared in Fabien Constant's exquisite documentary Mademoiselle C on Carine Roitfeld. Inspiration for them comes mostly from "posture, movement, attitude and spirit."

Lisa Immordino Vreeland's Peggy Guggenheim - Art Addict - Tribeca Film Festival World Premiere
Lisa Immordino Vreeland's Peggy Guggenheim - Art Addict - Tribeca Film Festival World Premiere

Sally Singer: Who are some of the most exciting people you've seen wearing your clothes?

Lazaro Hernandez: Well, if you mean on a celebrity level, Cate Blanchett is amazing.

Jack McCollough: It's great when you see people kind of take risks and they wear clothing in completely different ways that we would never have thought to put together in that way. What's also very satisfying is just a complete stranger walking down the street and they're wearing your jacket or bought your bag.

They admitted that the "vibe" of their first collections went all over the place. Sally Singer agrees.

Sally: It did. It went kind of preppy to disco to Hawaii.

Jack: That's good. It was the same kind of silhouette but different characters.

Lazaro: Like a movie.

Anne-Katrin Titze: What are some of your favorite moments in cinema - involving clothes?

Lazaro: Clothes from movies? I wish I had like a movie that was super inspiring on a fashion level. But Proenza is more music. It was always more about music for us. We're very inspired by that Kurt Cobain moment, Pearl Jam and Grateful Dead to some extent.

 Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt's Havana Motor Club - Tribeca Film Festival World Premiere
Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt's Havana Motor Club - Tribeca Film Festival World Premiere

Jack: And that world mixed with the world we saw in books of the greats - Irving Penn and Avedon - all the images of these beautiful women in mid-century couture. That sort of mashup.

Lazaro: We never made a collection around film.

Jack: No, never really.

Lazaro: Maybe Out Of Africa once?

Jack: I think the reason why we're so interested in those old images, like Penn images and Christian Dior, that time period that we were never alive during, it's this kind of weird fantasy to us, like something that never really existed. That we're experiencing in a very out of body kind of way. All these women working on the embroidery, the history of that and the craft of that is really inspiring to us.

Lazaro: Harmony Korine is a friend of ours and we made two movies with Harmony [the shorts Act da Fool and Snowballs in 2010 and 2011]. We have a lot of friends in the arts and a lot of our friends are making films. This happened very casually. It's just "lets do something together." It's not very commercial. Because of these Harmony Korine movies, we've lost business [laughs], because they're very controversial.

Jack: It's a kind of selfish endeavour to break out of what we do, season after season and see it in a different media in a way.

Haute Couture on Film poster
Haute Couture on Film poster

Lazaro: For us this is the perfect medium, the perfect job. First of all we're interested in the world. It's a perfect fit because every six months you get to take it all in and throw it out again. Sometimes you make mistakes and a bad collection, but that's the good thing about fashion - in six months you can do it all over again and redeem yourself. That's the hard part of fashion that it moves so quickly but that allows you to make mistakes here and there. When you're a director - we have friends that make movies - and they have flops and they're sort of in a depression for five years. I won't name names. As a designer you can every six months vindicate yourself

Sally: Or you can wait for the world to catch up with you.

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