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.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty