The news about the shuttering of Zac Posen’s brand of the eponymous name came as a shock to the fashion industry. Since the early 2000s, Posen has been dressing celebrities and customers into lush and colorful gowns but due to a failure in securing investments, the brand has been urged to close doors on the fairytale-like world of Posen’s dresses.
In 2001, Zac Posen took the fashion world by storm. Having returned from his studies at Central Saint Martins College in London, he set up an atelier in his parents’ house. His determination paid off: after presenting a capsule collection in October the same year, he was given a grant of $20,000 — a noticeable increase after his parents’ allowance of $15.
Following his first runway collection, Posen began to be noticed by fashion titans, such as Yves Carcelle, the president of LVMH Fashion Group; Sidney Toledano, the president of Dior; and Domenico De Sole, the president of Gucci Group. No longer was he a mere fashion student, trying to make it from his parent’s house. On the contrary, he was a young high-fashion designer everyone seemed to be interested in — investors, critics and customers.
Soon, Posen amassed a following amongst celebrities: his gowns were worn to the Academy Award Ceremony, the Met Gala and the Golden Globe Awards by some of the most prominent actresses. From Rihanna to Jennifer Lopez to Kate Winslet, celebrities from a variety of parts of the entertainment industry seemed drawn to Posen’s designs.
With a stylistic nod to the old Hollywood era, Posen’s gowns were a combination of glamour and fairytale. With luscious colors and at times, extravagant choices (a 3-D printed gown or a light-up dress, for example), Zac Posen became a household name in the fashion industry. His attention to detail and creativity is what made him a favorite amongst female celebrity customers — besides the fact that his dresses were extremely photogenic on the red carpet.
Some of his best-known red-carpet looks include the mermaid-like gown worn by Gwyneth Paltrow at the 2007 Academy Awards; the 3D-printed mini-gown worn by Nina Dobrev and the Sleeping Beauty-like gown worn by Deepika Padukone, both from the 2019 Met Gala. Alongside hundreds of stunning runway looks, Posen’s gowns cannot be described as something other than works of art.
However, the fairytale could only last so long. Zac Posen is shuttering his business and letting go of the 60 of his employees due to the inability to find investors. In April, it has been discovered that the company owning a significant share of the brand, Youcaipa Cos, was looking to sell its stake, but ended up keeping it. Although since, Zac Posen has adorned the runway with a number of collections, praised by critics, the hasty decision has caused the brand to scrap its Spring Summer 2020 collection shown in September.
Fashion, although an art, is still largely controlled by the economics that remain behind the runway. As masterful as some looks may be and as many accolades a designer may receive, their work is dependent on those in putting their money into it. Even though the future looked bright for Zac Posen — even after 18 years since the brand’s establishment — the creative force behind it fell victim to the financial aspects.
Following the announcement about the shuttering of the brand, celebrities took to social media in an effort to pay tribute to the man that dressed so many. Zac Posen was a brand that, although remained invested in the classical Hollywood style, still looked ahead and into the future. Posen’s constant experiments with silhouette, material and production allowed him to remain relevant amongst the ranks of red-carpet-goes.
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My earliest memories of New York fashion are centered around my friend @zacposen, his shows, his gowns and his unstoppable creativity. Fashion has changed an incredible amount in the last 15 years, both for the better and the worse. I’ve always felt a genuine connection to Zac, beyond our mutual flair for the dramatic, we have both been unapologetic disrupters. We changed our own corners of the industry for the better, but in doing so we faced incredibly negative forces because of going against the grain. While I was sad to learn that House of Z closed its doors today, one thing I know for sure is that Zac is a force of nature that cannot and will not be contained or restrained. #ZacPosen
Despite the heartbreaking news about the shuttering of the brand, Posen chooses to look on the brighter side. “I think I’ve worked with integrity and care,” he said in an interview with WWD magazine. “Hopefully, I’ll have a long career ahead. I need to take a little time to think about my options. I’ve been focused on my brand for a long time. Now, this is a new stage”. Perhaps, the future holds something completely new and unexpected for the fashion world in the face of Zac Posen.
Featured Image via Licensing Magazine