Do not make any assumptions about designer Zac Posen regarding his dedication to old world stereotypes, just because he built his name designing dramatic gowns and fancy frocks depicting old world Hollywood glamor. He may be able to sing tunes from several Broadway musicals and has dressed theatre dames like Bernedette Peters. He has designed costumes for the Rockettes. And his trumpet dresses have turned out many an NYC socialite. But make no mistake. Mr. Posen is a feminist.
“Ambitious. Driven.” Posen begins to kvell into a rapture when he discusses the muse for his latest ZAC ZAC diffusion line. “Although she can be a fun girl, it’s an empowered woman. She’s not dressing to be on the cover of MAXIM. That’s not the end goal.”
This collection for ZAC ZAC Spring 2016 features striped separates, shorts, chic beige, navy, and black, cool basics for the customer of his diffusion line, which has included actresses Katie Holmes and Mischa Barton, and has appealed to twenty somethings and teenage girls. The later group blows Mr. Posen’s mind (he’s now 35-years-old) because they’ve grown up knowing him as a designer. With a nod to Beverly Hills, California, he’s created plenty of pastel and pop neon frocks and pieces. “I think that neon is interesting.” He says. “When it plays against pastels. It kind of has the same quality that a black dress has in a jewel toned collection. Almost a non color. So intense, so much color; it is almost its own light source.”
Coincidentally, just a couple weeks before showing ZAC ZAC at Coterie, Posen was asked by Google and their online program Made With Code, to create an LED dress. Made With Code’s website encourages girls to study science and technology. It tells the stories of various young ladies who have learned to computer coding to various ends: combined with biology to find the cure for cancer; enhancing costumes to create other worldly choreography on stage; and within fabric for literally enlightened clothing. Posen was asked to do the latter, showcasing an incredible light enhanced black gown worn by the model Coco Rocha for a group of women who code.
Google had selected Posen specifically for the challenge, which he calls “an honor.” “There is a huge loss and discrepancy in clothing industry. Technology is its own online universe. It is important that women have a strong voice in this virtual world we’ve created.” So how did he do it? “With wireless, cell technology, light thin. Battery charging. You can put in different patterns a full range of colors and really create your own pattern, your own fireworks.”
Posen, however encouraging of females utilizing their brains to maximum potential, he’s firmly believes a woman should also flaunt her physical assets, evident in his wrinkle free Bodycon dresses. “I love a woman’s body. “He says. “Sexy and empowered.” And he attributes social media as a powerful tool that women have used to be more accepting of themselves. “ I think there are women with curves. They’ve played against the image the high fashion world has had of beauty.” He cites both Kim Kardashian and Oprah Winfrey — both whom he has dressed — as examples.
With all the progression and variety that exists without Posen’s universe — with TK collections, from his high end line to ZAC ZAC — perhaps the one traditional staple that women — ingenues and sophisticates — keep returning to buy, could be his Eartha handbag. The square utilitarian satchel, which flares out at the sides into more a trapezoid shape than a box, has sold out for the past four years, in various sizes. If Mary Poppins’ bag of tricks copulated with a modern rock leather shape, Eartha might be the result. Traditional with a kick.
Still, Posen can’t help injecting a modern application, to women themselves taking it to the next level for his brand. “You know, there’s a tag #earthamadness started by the trend people on Instagram.”
Not so mad, we think.