Style & Fashion

New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week reviews: Brooks Brothers

The Daily Beast

February 15, 2017

The evening before, Zac Posen had hosted his own-label NYFW show in a downtown loft, with photos of his most famous muses blown-up, and some of the muses in attendance. There was champagne in mini-bottles, plates of macaroons, and mucho buzz.

The next morning, Posen told The Daily Beast that the glamorous revels didn’t transition into a hedonistic all-nighter. “I went home and cooked a pasta dinner for my hubby (Christopher Niquet).” Surviving New York Fashion Week with sanity intact, he said, required “authenticity and normalcy.”

There was no pounding rock music, and in this loft—with beautiful views of downtown and Midtown Manhattan, bathed in sunlight—Posen showed his Brooks Brothers womenswear collection. He chatted to guests wearing a beautiful, fitted double-breasted Brooks Brothers men’s suit.

On a raised stage, a group of models stood and looked out at us spectators. This can feel a little stilted, as they are humans not mannequins, and so everybody affects to look at the detail of the clothes rather than the faces.

There were fitted camel-colored jackets, with grey pedal-pusher pants. A white winter coat came flecked with colors. Shoes were flat, or very moderately heeled. Socks were sported by some. It was, presumably like the Brooks Brothers woman’s customer, conservative with a kick, practical, with little elevations of luxe, like a black coat with threads of silver—if Jackie O had liked metallic the coat would have been made for her.

There were “moon and flower” dresses in green and navy, and dresses with colorful silk paneling. The tuxedo was given a sheer silhouette by Posen in a series of simple trouser suits. Puffer ski coats, a classic black cocktail dress, a cashmere knit inspired by Donegal tweed, and a gorgeous mint-colored jacket, and black skirt completed the collection.

Posen told The Daily Beast the collection was meant to be timeless, bringing the fabrics of menswear—Harris tweed, for example—helping to bridge day and eveningwear for women. “This is anti-fast fashion. These are investment pieces,” he said.

It wasn’t difficult juggling his own and Brooks Brothers collections. “I go into laser focus in each situation I do, and give it my all,” said Posen.

The Brooks Brothers fittings take two days and number 150 styles. “I have an amazing team. It takes a village,” Posen said, smiling. “You have to delegate, you have to be collaborative. Nothing is a solo story with fashion.” The Brooks Brothers collection, in particular, is built on the feedback of its devoted customers.

Posen is extremely busy: He is shooting Project Runway, writing a cookbook, which will be published in the fall, and there is also a documentary film being made about him. He has a bridal collection. “I garden and cook, that’s my calm,” Posen said. “I try to have that balance.”

As for this year’s political NYFW, Posen—who himself said he wanted his collection to deliver a “message of elegance and hope”—said: “I don’t like politics being used as a sales marketing tool. It seems like it diminishes the point. The world is very different this year. In fashion, there’s more emphasis on quality and personal authenticity, and I really appreciate how lucky we are to work in art and commerce. It’s a field we’re able to be creative in.”