NEW YORK — Valerie Steele’s Q&A with Zac Posen Tuesday could easily have been mistaken for a round of “Six Degrees of Separation.”
In canvassing his career during FIT’s Couture Council luncheon at Doubles, the designer mentioned the myriad of friends and insiders who influenced him especially in leaner years. “I wouldn’t be in business if it wasn’t for Tom Ford. He took a risk, and wrote a check, and paid for my second fashion show without meeting me. That was our first show with real p.r.,” Posen said. “I started the company with money saved up from lemonade sales on Spring Street. That’s how you learn profit and margins, advertising, everything.”
Dressing like Charlie Chaplin for his first day of high school at St. Ann’s in Brooklyn didn’t deter him from befriending Lola Schnabel, Reena Hammer, Jemima Kirke and Lena Dunham. Through an internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Richard Martin, Posen met John Galliano and Alexander McQueen whom he occasionally helped as a research assistant. And a teenage internship with Nicole Miller put Karen Elson in his orbit of friends. Even though he once won bronze in the New York State Math Championship, Posen said working in fashion always appealed to him more than academics. “I really didn’t do that well in school. I was really dyslexic and I had really bad ADD growing up. I was like a guinea pig for Ritalin, which was actually great for later in life. Drugs weren’t so interesting to me,” he said.
In London, at Central Saint Martins, he interacted with Louise Wilson and Richard Tangye was his champion. At that time, Sophie Dahl was a housemate, Jessica Joffe became a fit model, Anita Pallenberg acted as “a surrogate mom” and the V&A included one of the dresses he designed into its permanent collection. Another chance meeting between Schnabel and Naomi Campbell on the Eurostar led to the supermodel ordering clothes from him and teaching the designer how to fit. “I think she gave me 200 quid [$320] for fabric, which I thought was a fortune,” he said.
Posen, who will return to “Project Runway” as a judge and has a documentary in the works, even acknowledged critics of his younger, brasher self. “I would have strangled myself too. I was just too young and too in-your-face and not humble,” he said.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye