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Proenza Schouler Lands in L.A. for Chateau Marmont Dinner With Saks

All the lights of the Sunset Strip were spread out for the Saks x Proenza Schouler dinner Tuesday night in Penthouse 64 at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.

Guests started the evening on the terrace for cocktails with Jack McCollough, Lazaro Hernandez and Saks senior vice president, designer ready-to-wear Will Cooper.

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It’s been five years since the designers had an event in L.A. But they were here just last week for the Vanity Fair Oscars party — after which they jetted off to Mexico for an Ayurvedic cleanse.

“It was heaven,” said McCollough, sipping his first alcohol since. “You leave feeling like a baby,” added Alex Israel of his own experiences with cleansing.

“This conversation is so L.A.,” said Awkwafina, gorgeous in one of the designer’s comfy-chic jersey dresses, heading for a couch as Hernandez got into the finer points of triphala and the “emboweling” experience.

It was a friends-and-family affair with Lisa Love, the designers’ L.A. mom, and her daughters Nathalie and Laura in their Proenza finery. “There’s not many people I let stay in my back house,” Love said of allowing the boys to make her home theirs.

Other guests included Aimee Song, Dani Michelle, Derek Blasberg, artist Honor Titus and wife Gia Coppola, Jamie Mizrahi, Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Pamela Hanson, and the conversation veered from cleanses to Dries Van Noten’s retirement, to the fashion industry L.A. invasion.

It’s certainly been a busy month for Saks, which moved its Beverly Hills store to the old Barneys New York space in February, and has been hosting nonstop events since then with Chanel, Sabyasachi and soon Thom Browne.

“It looks really familiar but it’s also completely different,” McCollough said of the new Saks space, which retained its grand staircase and expansive atrium but transformed the Barney Greengrass restaurant into a Saks Fifth Avenue Club for private clients with 12 VIP rooms.

“I was thinking a bit about [the designers’] journey. They started at Barneys, so when they walked in this morning…they said the first time they set foot in the building was their second season. It’s kind of amazing, this homecoming. And their idea of the store feeling familiar but different, that’s actually a nice thing. There’s the DNA of what Peter Marino did but updated,” said Cooper, noting that the store has some associates who date back to Barneys.

“It’s a good moment for them right now. It’s an easy sensibility of dressing. They cover denim, the evening going-out looks. And the value is there. Ready-to-wear has gotten so expensive,” he said.

The designers have been seeing a lot of success internationally, with pickup in Europe, where they recently opened shops-in-shop in several department stores, and in China. This season, McCollough and Hernandez spent three weeks on the road traveling to London where they are doing a good business with Selfridges, to Paris for market, and to Milan, where they were hiring for an upcoming project they can’t talk about yet.

Kay Hong, Proenza Schouler’s chief executive officer, was in town for the dinner from Lake Tahoe from where she commutes for her job. The executive was wearing a dress from the fall 2019 collection, proving one of the best points of the American fashion brand that celebrated 20 years in 2023, it never looks dated. And while Proenza is deeply rooted in New York, with the Chelsea bags, the [Dia] Beacon bags and all the rest, the appeal stretches beyond.

“I’m a West Coast native, I grew up in the Bay Area and lived in Pasadena for a bit,” said Hong of her perspective. “I’m not one of those people who won’t admit it, I love Los Angeles.”

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