Georgia Lazzaro Takes the Helm at Protagonist
Written by Stephanie Murg
Photographed by Hanna Tveite
Portrait by Alexandra Nataf
Serene industriousness prevails at the Protagonist studio. Or is it industrious serenity? Either way, the bright and airy space is a world away from the Garment District that bustles eighteen floors below. Perched between a wall of sketches and a massive steel cutting table is Georgia Lazzaro, a fine-boned, strong-willed Australian blonde with a talent for translating diverse references—Dior’s New Look, a Renaissance nude cropped into anonymity by artist Hans-Peter Feldmann, the pioneering practicality of fashion designer Bonnie Cashin, Louise Bourgeois’s fiery “Insomnia Drawings”—into garments that are as desirable as they are refined. Her effortless-looking designs are the product of intense and nuanced work.
“I was drawn to Protagonist by its essential quality—the idea of wardrobe necessities or the perfect shirt,” says Lazzaro, who was appointed design director of the New York-based label last December. “The thinking and the workmanship that goes into that appeals to me.” The first Protagonist collection under her leadership encompasses those foundational concepts and much more, offering a feminine fusion of functionality and sensuality for fall.
We’re a team of women. In fittings, we look at garments and ask a lot of questions, including ‘Would you really wear that?’ Georgia Lazzaro
An admirer of the iterative elegance on which Protagonist was founded, Lazzaro learned the importance of “taking away things to get to a more pure place” while working for Narciso Rodriguez and Calvin Klein. She has approached her new role with the desire to “soften it up a little bit, and add some dimension,” all with signature Protagonist subtlety. “For fall, I really thought about flattering silhouettes,” she says, “and how to work with more masculine classics to make them more accessible for different body shapes.”
Lazzaro and her all-female studio team set out to define Protagonist’s formal vocabulary but ended up developing a clever continuum, one that spans couture-volume flourishes and workwear details, luscious double-faced crepes and pure cotton canvas. For every alignment—liquid slipdresses, tailored-to-perfection trousers, plenty of black—there is an innovative juxtaposition: a satin bomber, prim portrait collars paired with plunging backs, a print that nods to the poetic scrawls of Cy Twombly. “If you’ve got two exciting things to vacillate between, that helps push everything forward. And it makes you question every decision,” explains Lazzaro. “The minutiae of that is very appealing to us, and we love figuring it out.”
Styling Vanessa Traina
Hair Jordan M at Susan Price
Makeup Daniel Martin at The Wall Group
Model Caroline Brasch Nielsen
Explore another chapter in The Stories:
Everything Is Illuminated: Summer Beauty for a Natural Glow