“With Instagram and all this technology, I see a huge hunger for process and handcraftsmanship,” said Zac Posenbackstage before his spring show. It could sound affected, sure, but consider the fact that Posen still produces his entire main collection in New York, his hometown. For a global business, that’s pretty remarkable. The proximity also allows the designer to work at a level that, for a ready-to-wear collection, approaches couture. Many of his dresses are pleated, knotted, and sewn by hand and, for spring, that lent itself to a few dozen pieces steeped in what felt like a fairy tale. Models with messy updos studded with tiny buds waltzed out dressed in pale shades of pink, green, and lavender—a palette inspired by an arrangement of ombré-colored roses dipped in plastic. The feeling was based on Sarah Bernhardt in the 1911 French film La Dame aux Camélias, and the flutter sleeves, copious ruffles, bias silhouettes, corsetry, and delicate floral prints all evoked a soft romanticism, that, at its best, was simple. A long, bordeaux slip dress with linear, floral embroidery and a butter yellow look with a draped back represented Posen’s strength (as well as the nineties feel that’s been happening elsewhere for spring): flattering the body with womanly, sensual shapes. It’s great to see him show off his skill with more intricate and worked details, absolutely, but while the extra fabric folded at the hips might work as a place to rest one’s hands for a photograph, in real daily (or nightly) life, few women are looking for more bulk there. There was a good balance between long and short hemlines, and really, in the last few seasons, Posen has shown a strong commitment to dialing down the drama without losing his sense of showmanship.
vogue.com review of the zac posen spring 2014 show by emily holt
Earlier in the evening, Zac Posen gave a reminder that he is a designer who wants to make a statement. Mr. Posen is having a great year with his run as a judge on “Project Runway,” and the one-liners are becoming Internet famous. For example, “She looks like Tinker Bell at Burning Man!” “She looks like a slutty cat toy!”
And there is probably no designer in New York who has more appreciation for Charles James, just announced as the subject of the Costume Institute’s next fashion exhibition, so it is not surprising that the fashion world is looking at Mr. Posen with fresh eyes. Much of his spring collection looked accomplished and new, especially the simple, pretty dresses made of layers of floral silk chiffon. Mind you, some of those dresses required a Zac Posen-style takedown. Regarding look No. 16: She looks like a cocktail napkin! In green!
new york times review of the zac posen spring 2014 show by eric wilson
Zac Posen’s spring 2014 collection proved that it’s indeed possible to stage a fabulous show full of non-white models, in addition to his longtime muses likeCoco Rocha, Crystal Renn, and Lindsey Wixson. Models’ hair was swept away from the face, slightly powdered, and secured with floral clips; their makeup was dominated by candy pinks and soft pastels. Audience members Christina Hendricks, Stacy Keibler, and Karen Elson were surely on the lookout for red carpet gowns, and Posen didn’t disappoint: his show contained floor-sweeping, full-skirted dresses with sculpted, flattering bodices and huge, dramatic ruffles rendered in delicate shades of lilac, rose, and celadon.
new york magazine review of the zac posen spring 2014 show
Zac Posen started draping his new spring collection almost three months ago, and he was still doing it right up until the first look appeared on the runway at New York Fashion Week.
It wasn’t a last-minute rush — in fact, everything seemed incredibly quiet just before his show on Sunday night. It simply takes that long to hand-pleat chiffon and hand-paint organza. “Given the intensity of this collection, it has all been very calm,” he said.
Posen even took a nap for almost an hour after the final sound and lighting checks, and before receiving a pep talk by phone from friend Naomi Campbell.
Models are important to Posen: Their loyalty and enthusiasm launched his career. Anyway, the elaborate gowns and dresses he is known for really needs “models,” not just tall, thin, pretty women. They need to have confidence and know how to pull off an outfit that, hopefully, will have everyone in the room looking right at them, he said.
Coco Rocha wore the first look on the catwalk, a pale-pink chiffon cape dress. Lindsey Wixson wore an ivory-colored bustier gown and go-to Posen muse Crystal Renn wore a lemon-colored frock with a wisteria print and fluttery short sleeves.
There were gowns with bustles and ruffles in a beautiful jacquards, and dresses with satin corseting. A few dresses with many, many layers looked inverted, as if the ball skirt were at the bustline.
"This collection is very romantic," Posen said backstage. "It’s beyond the va-va-voom red carpet."
Still, actress Christina Hendricks, who has worn Posen to several big Hollywood events, was sitting in the front row. “I have been a fan of his for a very, very long time, and I just think he is incredibly unique and exquisite.”
ap review of the zac posen spring 2014 show
It was announced last week that Charles James will be the subject of next year’s Costume Institute show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. James was sometimes called America’s first couturier; he’s remembered now for his spectacular ball gowns, immortalized in photographs by Cecil Beaton. If James has a spiritual descendant, it’s Zac Posen, whose devotion to occasion dressing is immune to trend. New York is thinking along sporty lines for Spring; other designers Posen’s age are vibing on the 1990s. Posen, for his part, borrowed his color palette and floral prints from the Impressionists; his muse this season was Sarah Bernhardt. More power to him, right? Unfortunately, this wasn’t one of Posen’s finest moments. Backstage before the show he said he would be presenting “conceptual evening,” and described it as “more sculptural” than usual. Exuberant doesn’t begin to describe the layered organza and tulle layers of a strapless party dress, or the pronounced shoulders of an architectural draped evening jacket in floral jacquard. Some of the softer dresses, too (in double-face white satin or rose hand-dyed draped tulle), were constructed with a flamboyance that felt out of step—not just with other runways, but also with the red carpets for which most of them are intended. Admittedly, the silk flowers in the models’ updos and the harsh lighting weren’t doing Posen any favors. He was on much firmer ground with a comparatively simpler hand-plisséd strapless cocktail number in yellow—all of the plissé dresses were lovely. An ultra-fitted peplum jacket worn with a fishtail skirt struck a similarly modern note. Ball gowns will be in the spotlight at the Costume Institute next May, but these are the kinds of things we hope to see the next time Posen gets on the runway.
style.com review of the zac posen spring 2014 show by nicole phelps