All the Real Girls: Posen in Paris

As Zac Posen put the final touches on his highly anticipated Paris couture show on March 3, Interview visited him in-studio to view his ready-to-wear line, Z Spoke. His airy studio in a creative Tribeca building (not far from the Soho neighborhood in which he grew up) is bathed in light, filled with fresh flowers, and finished in exposed wood beams and brick walls.  Floor-to-ceiling antique mirrors reflect two of his classic gowns displayed on mannequins—if the word “classic” can be used to describe the meteoric rise of fashion’s original wunderkind, who is barely 30.

Z Spoke, Posen’s second or “diffusion” line, debuted in the Lincoln Center tents during the Spring/Summer 2011 New York Fashion Week.  That collection consisted of festive, flirty, brightly-colored dresses. When I asked Posen backstage after that show about Z Spoke, he said, “High fashion right now is being influenced by the street.  It’s about having a sort of Internet dialogue with bloggers and how they dress and people self-creating; everybody being a star and feeling fabulous.”

That philosophy was even more evident in the chic and very wearable Fall 2011 Z Spoke line. The florals were replaced by dark hues—blacks, greys, midnight blues—which are the core of every modern woman’s wardrobe.  This collection is perfect for urban young women—particularly those with a fashion-forward sense or working in a creative career—to go from the office to nightlife.

“This season was all about my consumer—I wanted to create classic and sophisticated pieces for every woman,” said Posen. What Posen has achieved is a wardrobe that incorporates his signature draping, pleating, and gathering with masterful architectural details in colors and silhouettes appropriate for real life.  The 30 pieces (available at stores such as Saks and Bloomingdales) are at a price point ($75–$525) that puts the couturier’s skill and design sense, which won him the CFDA Womenswear Award in 2004, within reach of “real” women. We loved the edgy hammered silks and burnt jerseys, feminine ruffled blouses paired with inky suits for the downtown girl growing up, the crepe tanks, the sexy/elegant backless cocktail dresses and textured wool sweaters.

As for his namesake Collection, which he will be sending down the Parisian catwalk, details are top-secret, but we managed to uncover a few clues.  As Interview reported during New York Fashion Week, the Misshapes’ Leigh Lezark will DJ Posen’s show.  As for the design themes and directions which his couture show will have in common with Z Spoke, Posen said, “I think in general with Collection and with Z Spoke, we’re moving into a more streamlined identity using my original language.”