Princess Elizabeth of Toro, a Ugandan politician, lawyer, diplomat, and model, was Zac Posen’s inspiration for Fall. “This collection was about pushing fashion forward and representing intelligent women that aren’t only represented by an overt sexuality,” said Posen backstage. “It’s about mystery, seduction, asymmetry and fluidity.” It also meant pushing his brand image in a new direction by incorporating more daywear, such as a bigger selection of suit jackets and dress pants in jewel tones, and much more informal evening wear. Posen is known for his dramatic structural ball gowns that hold in every ounce of excess and make just about any figure look like an hourglass. It’s why his front row is always jam packed with celebrities like Katie Holmes and Jennifer Hudson, who count Posen as a dear friend and show up nearly every season to support the designer. This time around he’s saving those gowns for the red carpet. So if this looked like a major departure for Posen, it was strategic.
The gowns this season would be better categorized as evening dresses—ones that hung loose on the body meaning you could conceivably sit down for dinner and actually eat it too. The liberty print theme that ran throughout the collection looked best in a strapless burgundy and rust hued wrap gown, but it’s those versatile all black draped assym numbers that will likely be the best-sellers. Posen is now designing three lines (Zac Posen, Zac by Zac Posen, and Brooks Brothers’ women’s collection), which means he’s having to take a bigger picture approach to his business. “To grow a business, you have to learn how to be a leader,” said Posen. “You have to learn how to delegate, trust your teams, and know when your hand and eye needs to come into the process. That’s what’s key. You also have to stick with your decisions. You can’t be fashion flighty.” Still, we can’t wait to see some of those glam Zac Posen gowns he’s hiding for some of his front row friends.