Style & Fashion

New York Fashion Week

This is why Zac Posen is master of the fashion fairytale

The Daily Beast

September 13, 2016

As the actress Debi Mazar was leaving Zac Posen’s New York Fashion Week show, she had a thought which she conveyed gently to her daughter Giulia Isabel: it would be hell finding a car outside.

It would indeed: not only was there a crush of people, but they were all in the happiest of otherworldly dazes. The clamorous applause that followed Posen’s models on their final walk-past, and Posen’s bow afterwards, was testament to a display of stunning artistry and dreamy glamor.

“For Spring 2017,” Posen had said, “I envisioned a collection with the craftsmanship I am known for, but made in technical fabrics to give it an airy, feminine, and modern feel.”

What this translated too were a succession of breathtakingly beautiful outfits—in design, construction, and look.

They ranged from Lurex cocktail dresses, to tulip-shaped dresses with tulip design; bolero, padded-style jackets with short dresses and strappy sandals; glittery tulle gowns; simpler tea dresses and shirt dresses; and what Posen called ‘architectural gowns,’ which meant their construction featured some delicate amendments which made the drape angular, off center, or somehow that much more arresting.

Dresses that could have been simply stunning came with surgical mesh, raw and aged glass beads, and in an homage to Easy Rider, Posen produced not motorcycle jackets, but softer-styled peplum blazers and tricotine biker skinny pants. The audience, including Uma Thurman, Jourdan Dunn, Malin Akerman, Carla Gugino, Olivia Culpo and Coco Rocha, sat rapt.

Other looks were simple—like a lilac shirt dress or a fitted, belted trench coat—but more came with ruffled paneling at the hip and pleated backs. Even a jean-jacket had its own intricacies: pared down, its buttons near the neck made it demurely flirty rather than rebel rebel—what Holly Golightly might have worn had she gone out for the evening with the Beats.

The colors were as enchanting as the designs: mints and greens and citrus greens and navy alongside all-black dresses and tops that shimmered and frisked with tassels, Cocktail dresses featured bold designs of poppies and petals, or were inscribed with delicate embroidery. One particularly gorgeous strapless white cocktail dress came scattered with what looked like multicolored teardrops, or shed petals.

Much at the time at fashion shows crowds are warmly appreciative, but the response to Posen was audibly more rousing and adulatory. Maybe his fans just are that devoted, but the collection felt—as sometimes these things do—to hit a particular sweet spot, its invention and execution so clever, dedicated and carefully produced and staged.

Yes, there would be a long wait for cars outside, but all the better for the marooned to compare notes on which dress had enchanted them the post. Indeed, those conversations may have gone on for so long, and pleasurably so, their participants might have eventually shooed their Ubers away.