DALLAS — Zac Posen is tired. He arose from a hotel bed at 4:30 a.m. to fly here from San Francisco, where he spent the previous day helping Neiman Marcus shoppers at his first trunk show.
This story first appeared in the May 13, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Now he’s halfway through seven interviews with fashion and TV journalists at the Mansion Hotel here, and in quick turn he’ll have to don a tuxedo as the main attraction at a fancy cocktail party.
Does any of this stress show? Not for this 22-year-old — raised in the cross-cultural mecca of a New York SoHo neighborhood and relishing rapid success.
“It was amazing,” Posen said of the San Francisco show and party, which drew a crowd of 1,100. “I love interacting with my customers and learning from them. People really responded to the daywear and that had been an emphasis because I love tailoring.”
Posen reigned politely over another lavish party sponsored by Neiman’s that evening at the hotel, mingling with some 700 of Dallas’ fashion flock. The next day, Neiman’s downtown flagship reportedly took more than $100,000 in orders, exceeding the take in California.
“The clothes are just beautiful,” said Karen Katz, president and chief executive officer of Neiman Marcus stores. “After San Francisco, we got constant e-mails from customers and press that they love him.”
“We were astonished,” said Susan Posen, the designer’s mother and ceo of his 20-month-old company. “It was his inaugural trunk show and the response has been so gratifying.”
Posen’s close-fitted day suits, fur and leather items led bookings in both cities. The designer was surprised that some of the bestsellers had not been shown on the runway, such as a pieced leather and net “mermaid” top with a built-in bra for $2,340. Dallas also sold one crystal-beaded evening gown for $15,000.
“It’s really important for us to make clothing that looks beautiful, feminine and intelligent,” Posen said. “I’m very passionate about women feeling great in the clothes, strong and powerful and modern and sexy.”
Posen’s unassuming demeanor and frequent admission that he still lives at home with his parents endeared him to party guests and shoppers. Patti Crews, a fan in Dallas, found Posen “just darling” and ordered four pieces.
“It seems that rather than create art, he wants to design fashion that will look good on women, not just on the runway,” she said.
Posen is slowly growing his company and plans to unveil his first resort group in June and add knitwear to the spring collection.
“I love knitwear,” he said. “It’s something that can be incorporated into the wardrobes of many different kinds of women and ages, and there’s a lot of new technology. I’ll do the thinnest, softest cotton, and T-shirts like you’ve never seen.”
The Posens declined to reveal annual sales of the business, which is a family affair that employs Zac’s sister, a trained mime, and mask maker named Alexandra, as creative director.
“We’ve hit all our projections,” Susan Posen said. “We want to grow in a sound manner.”
“We’re a small, multitasking company and we’re learning every side of it,” the designer said. “I’m glad it’s happening the way it is because I’m able to oversee production and work with my mother on the business strategy for us to grow it properly.”
He’s fueled by “caffeine and cookies” and “the love and support of good friends and family.”
The resort collection will focus on dresses and consist of about 10 pieces.
“I’m going to do some swimsuits, too, which will be fun, and it’s great that I have a sister to consult,” he said.