Born on October 24,1980 into lower Manhattan society, Zac Posen was born with the gift of artistry from his father Stephen. His mother Susan, was a corporate lawyer at the time. Being interested in fashion design from an early age, he worked towards and was awarded an internship with Nicole Miller while a high school Sophomore.
After which he further pursued academics in the field of fashion design by attending the The New School for Design at Parsons. As beginners luck would have it, he was even mentored by The Costume Institute’s Richard Martin. With an internship and an impressive mentor name under his belt, Posen was given a student slot in the Womenswear program of the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (University of London).
Zac Posen’s career actually got its start in London when in 2000, according to the Fashion Model Directory (2011) he:
…received a big break after a dress he made for Naomi Campbell (who had heard about him from Lola Schnabel, the daughter of American artist Julian Schnabel) changed hands several times among several fashion insiders, including actress Paz de la Huerta. (Fashion Directory, 2011.)
One year later, he made fashion headlines in London once again because of a one of a kind gown he created and made from leather strips and dress-maker hooks and eyes which was acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum for their “Curvaceous” exhibit.
Even though London gave Mr. Posen his headstart in the fashion industry, he could not legally work in the country so he packed his things up and in 2001, returned to New York where he found himself designing clothes from his parents living room and living on a $15 a week allowance. Little did this highly talented, openly gay, soon to be fashion icon know that lady luck was about to smile upon him.
October 2001 saw him presenting a small portion of his fashion collection at GenArt’s Fresh Faces where he was granted a $20,000 to help him mount his first runway presentation and build his fashion house. Though he was courted to join th ealready big name fashion houses like Christian Dior and Gucci, he opted to open his own design studio in Tribeca instead where he imaginatively designs 1940’s inspired gowns and suits.
Just like all fresh faced fashion designers struggling to get noticed in the alresady congested fashion world of New York, Posen hit the jackpot when he partnered with Hollywood glam girl Natalie Portman in 2002, dressing her for a series of promotional appearances and red carpet events.
Slowly becoming known as a designer with a feel for the younger generation, his star slowly rose as he began to dress not only Hollywood fashion trendsetters like Ms. Portman, but also the likes of Rihanna, Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Mischa Barton, and Beyonce Knowles.
The icing on the Zac Posen cake? An award bestowed upon him in 2004 known as the, Swarovski’s Perry Ellis Award for Womenswear and elite award that is bestowed upon only the most impressive new designers by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
He normally holds his fashion shows twice a year during the New York Fashion Week. Normally using floral or animal prints for his clothes, Zac never hesitates to experiment with fabrics. At the Paris Fashion Week, he told MacPherson (2011) that he dresses a specific type of woman. Normally embodying four attributes :
Voracious, sexy, intelligent, chic (AFP. 2011.)
Which is why he makes sure that each show calls attention to his taste for what Fashion Directory (2011) calls:
Draped, anatomically seamed construction. Sweeping strapless evening dresses, ruffled fishtail mermaid gowns and bias cut cocktail dresses in shades of taupe, bronze, and teal. (Fashion Directory. 2011.)
Just like all fashion houses though, he began to feel the financial pinch of mounting such highly intricate and expensive shows. Looking for other ways to continue to keep his fashion house afloat, he began looking into lower cost design collaborations with the likes of Sean Combs infusing money into his company with the lauch in 2004 of the Sean John fashion line.
He also partnered up with Target in 2008 for the “Target Australia” and “Zac Posen For Target” in 2010. Not one to worry about diminishing the high-end value of his brand name by partnering up with commercial institutions or celebrities for off the rack versions or original off the rack designs of his work, Posen explained to Dykes (2008) that:
True luxury is always in the make and fabrication… about the idea of the dress. (Dykes, Fashionising.com. 2008.)
Although traditional fashion houses such as Valentino will always be on the fashion map for decades to come. Zac Posen is the face of 21st century cutting edge fashion. It is quite obvious that with the dawn of the new century, there has also been a new dawn within the fashion world. Classic, eternal, standard design templates will always be a strong influence while designing new avant garde clothes. The designers of today have an overactive imagination.
They can see beauty and elegance where the traditional fashion designers and houses may tend to overlook it. It is that weakness of the traditional that designers like Zac Posen tend to overcome. With his flair for the experimental and successful fashion collaborations, this designer from a small yet formidable house of fashion is sure to become one of the fashion titans of the future.
Dykes, Daniel P. “Zac Posen: For Target And On Target”. Fashionising.com. 7 April 2008. Web. 3 March 2011.
MacPherson, Robert. “Zac Posen Woos The ‘Voracious’ Woman At Paris Shows “. AFP. 3 March 2011. Web. 4 March 2011.
“Zac Posen”. Encyclopedia of World Biographies. n.d. Web. 4 March 2011.
“Zac Posen”. Fashion Model Directory.2011. Web. 3 March 2011.