This evening’s Zac Posen show was awash with new faces and a new feeling. The common thread that usually and uniquely connects Posen’s work was instantly identifiable but something felt a little different. Un je ne sais quoi was in the air. Most importantly, it was on the runway.
Perhaps it was the injection of new mesmerizing micro-shapes and the myriad buzzy colors? Or maybe so many of the pieces veered so far away from last spring 2016 – at least structurally and tonally speaking – that it felt like unchartered territory for the American designer? Either way, what is not up for speculation is that Posen was after a younger woman's heart.
“For spring 2017 I envisioned a collection with the craftsmanship I am known for but made in technical fabrics to give it an airy, feminine, transparent, and modern feel,” explained the designer. And we can see what he means: the craftsmanship was beautifully evident and the textural variation impressive given the technical detail that could be spotted in some of the embroidered organza gowns.
Some will rightfully point out that Posen played it safe in terms of highlighting “the codes of the house,” but they should also take notice that his experimentation with short, coordinating sets accentuated the new wave of youthfulness his models were embracing.
“This season we have a very fresh casting – it’s even more diverse,” he said backstage. “It’s the new generation of models; they’re young, they’re fresh – they bring a coolness to the collection.” So he designed accordingly, elegantly breathing that freshness into his patterns and lines.
While Posen straddled the line of classic and contemporary, his strategy of softening silhouettes – for both day and night wear – didn’t stop him from playing with intricate construction and vibrant textures. Think shiny jacquards, embroidered surgical mesh, peplum flares, and glass beaded detailing.
And although it’s this careful and inspired attention to craft that ultimately elevates Posen’s work into the haute couture arena, it certainly didn’t prevent the designer from considering the importance of keeping customers inspired and ready to shop when thinking this collection through, thus adapting to a logic of speed-to-market.
“Anything you see on the runway today, you can have made haute couture in my studio tomorrow,” offered Posen. “We have a whole department for that, but it’s not going to be shipping out of a basement.”