Deerhunting With Proenza Schouler
When Deerhunter, the critically beloved rock band, released their new album, Monomania, last week, music magazines and blogs ran press photos of the five-piece outfit in what looked like a cross between Chanel and intergalactic officers’ uniforms circa 2113. They didn’t arouse much notice from the music community, which is more or less used to outlandish antics from the band and, especially, from its 6’4″ front man, Bradford Cox—he’d recently attired himself for the band’s Jimmy Fallon performance in a black shag wig and bloody tourniquet wrapped around his fingers. (It was a tribute of sorts to his father, who’d lost two fingers in a band-saw accident.)
The fashion tribe, on the other hand, will probably recognize the looks: They’re from the standout Fall ’13 womenswear collection by Proenza Schouler, who, as it turns out, art directed the shoot for the band. “It’s some of the only really new music we listen to,” designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez said. “Bradford sent us an early copy of Monomania, and it’s pretty much on repeat in the studio these days.” The two met the band after a performance at PS 1 a few weeks before their show and invited them to the Fall show. “When I saw the clothes, I was immediately struck by how much they fit into a certain aesthetic consciousness that I so often subscribe to on this new record,” Cox told Style.com. (He called in from the road, where he’d just done a quick detour to Hank Williams’ grave in Alabama.) “A sort of futurism but using quite nostalgic patterns. They seem to evoke a sense of white noise. I think they’re incredibly suggestive of a certain sound. It’s a perfect match for what we were trying to achieve.” An invitation from Cox to dress the band for their cover shoot soon followed.
A photo from the shoot, taken by the band’s longtime collaborator Robert Semmer over the course of what McCollough and Hernandez called “a very long and very interesting evening,” now covers the back of the new album—at least, for those who still buy physical CDs. (The front, in deference to its title, is a neon sign reading, “MONOMANIA”: that is, single-minded obsession.) “It was nothing like any fashion shoots we have ever been on,” the designers said. “It was totally off the cuff. It wasn’t at all about the clothes, which for us was a first, but more about having fun and playing around. It was totally outside any fashion context, which we loved.” The feeling was mutual. “I don’t think there’s a single other designer out there who holds a match to what they’re doing,” Cox said. “Honestly there was nothing in [fashion] that interested me—only the clothing of Proenza Schouler showed me anything worth looking at. I think they honestly are the most artistic and the most liberated of all the designers.”
Monomania (4AD) is out now.