Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez's love affair with Tumblr appears to have been brief. The kaleidoscopic prints and vibrant collages of last season, inspired, they said, by surfing the Internet, have been replaced by clothes that have their antecedents, at least in terms of silhouette, in haute couture. The duo have shown tweed bouclé skirtsuits and cocktail dresses in guipure lace before, but it was always with a wink. The guipure lace, for example, was neon. Here, they seemed somehow more serious in their ambitions.
Their starting point was certainly lofty: the Zuma series of photographer John Divola, cataloging the slow decay of beachside structures. Deconstruction, however, was not what the designers ended up with, even if the color palette, mostly black and white with only the lightest touches of mint and peach, was quite reduced. The round forms of coats and jackets hinted at the work of Cristobal Balenciaga, and the elaborate fabrics must've been months in development. One laser-cut material with what looked like hundreds of heat-fused embroideries was created via a process called ultrasonic welding. They used it for slim, cinched sheaths. Industrious? You bet. We've said it before, McCollough and Hernandez might be the hardest-working designers in New York.
As if to remind us that they're still edgy young dudes, they embroidered dresses in long vertical chain links—a timely take, given the Costume Institute's upcoming show, on punk chain mail. Those were fun and magazines will photograph them like crazy, but the real accomplishments of this show were subtler. Backstage, Hernandez was riffing: "It was all just soft, that's the one word we were thinking about. Softness of form, softness of color, softness of texture." This time around their tweed bouclé jackets and skirts were actually made from woven strips of black and white leather. One word: wow.