Zac Posen Is in a New York Mood

Fully half of Zac Posen’s 35 looks for spring were magnificent gowns with full sweeping skirts or fitted trumpet hemlines, with cascades of ruffles and breathtakingly intricate ruching. Coco Rocha, who opened and closed the show, told us about walking in such grand garments. “Zac knows me, how I walk, so he just makes sure that we all have fun out there,” she said. “They are art pieces.  What you’re wearing deserves respect, so you present it slowly, so that everyone can appreciate it.”

Posen front-row fixture Kelly Osbourne replaced Taylor Momsen as the face of Madonna’s Material Girl line in January and is a co-host on E’s Fashion Police. She said that her role as fashion critic means “you have to be honest. I’m not going to lie. It’s amazing how personally people take it because at the end of the day, it’s just my opinion; what does that count for?  If I say something, I have a reason for it and I won’t back down. I’m not going to be nice to your face and then talk about you behind your back; I don’t do that.” Osbourne, who describes her own style as “girly tomboy,” also has two movies being released later this year, Should’ve Been Romeo and So Undercover.

Also looking on from the front row were Anna Wintour, Robbie Myers, J. Alexander, Terry Richardson, Ally Hilfiger, China Chow, and Genevieve Jones. J. Alexander (a judge on America’s Next Top Model, whom Tyra Banks calls “runway coach extraordinaire”) has worked with Posen on several collections.  “I helped him coach some of the new girls that he was interested in having, to get them runway-ready and also get them into the whole ‘Zac spirit,’ which always changes, like most designers.  There’s a little bit of the sexiness, but the girls also keep their personality.”

“I think Zac has a great personality, which is very helpful,” said Alexander. “I think that happens when you come from a good place. I think, when you look at his parents, that’s good stock, and I think that it works. You learn discipline from your parents, and they also allowed him to be free creatively. They taught him that it’s okay to be who you are and express yourself in many ways.  And one way he expresses himself is through fabric and design.”

Backstage, Posen said that this collection is an expression of his belief that “there’s nothing wrong with being pretty. Bringing elegance back was very important to me. In terms of the craftsmanship, this was a celebration of the craft that I’ve been learning over the last ten years and that my studio has been able to teach me, to do the different techniques that we were able to do, such as working with lace, to get it to lay flat in that way.”

Posen presented his Fall 2011 couture collection in Paris. We asked Posen, who grew up in Soho, about the significance of returning to New York to present his collection on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. “It was huge. I started my business right after September 11 [2001]. I’d come back from university, I gathered a lot of the people that you see here, that were out of town or don’t live in New York; they came to my house. I think it shows the power of creativity, that you really can build a dream and that Americans are resilient and strong creative forces.  That is the greatest thing that we can give to the world.”