By  on December 14, 2004

NEW YORK — The newly minted members of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Couture Council who filed into Zac Posen’s TriBeCa studio here were as eager to see his seamstresses as they were to see him.

The behind-the-scenes tour gave visitors an insider’s look at how the slightly frenetic designer lassoes his ideas, painstakingly turns them into samples and eventually marches them down the runway. One of the few designers who actually makes garments in his space, Posen knows the atelier is an endangered practice.

“This is really an atelier here. The synergy of this doesn’t really exist in America anymore,” he said. “It’s great to show people how you make your work. For me, it’s as exciting as the final product.”

Some of the Couture Council’s 30 founding members listened attentively as Posen walked them through his work space, examining intricate details along the way. They also got a glimpse of his storyboards and a video of his spring runway show. In addition to these types of walk-throughs, members will be invited to other private events and viewings. The council aims to help conserve its collections, fund acquisitions and spruce up the museum’s facilities.

Valerie Steele, director of the FIT museum, said, “It’s a question of buzz. We’re not on Museum Mile. We’re downtown. People who find us love us. But it helps if a friend will bring a friend.”

Ever the salesman, Posen buzzed around the room greeting guests, including the council’s chairman, Elizabeth Peek, and FIT president Joyce Brown. Standing near his curvaceous “Anaconda” dress, the designer said, “I think lines on the body are empowering, sexy and dramatic.”

“For me, it’s not about trends, but making things that are timeless and of visceral design,” he said. “I think women now should be beyond a sense of trend. What’s exciting now is that people are creating their own style.”

Passing by a bolt of fabric, Posen said, “Hold on. This is a cool print.”

Pausing to unroll the linear purple pattern, he explained how the design team traced the negative space around the Eiffel Tower and PhotoShopped it onto cotton jersey for a dress. The look was a bestseller after Carmen Kass wore it on the runway. “Anything she wears [on the runway] does incredible, always,” Posen said.

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