FASHION THEATER: Neiman Marcus’ Ken Downing led a lively discussion Monday evening on the world of fashion, managing to garner a steady stream of laughs from attendees. The event, called “Designer As Dramatist—The Intersection of Fashion and Theater,” took place at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and capped the season for the event space’s Arts & Ideas series. The Downing-led panel took the audience through the careers of designers Zac Posen and Christian Siriano along with mother-daughter models Pat and Anna Cleveland, each giving their perspectives on working in the industry.

The Clevelands, featured together as part of Lanvin’s spring campaign, talked about their roles in translating designers’ works on the runway and where they find inspiration. Pat happened to fall into the business after being discovered while walking out of the New York subway and likened the industry to her flying carpet. “It’s always saved me and I’ve always said thank god for fashion because where else would I be,” she told Downing.

The conversation throughout the evening also wound its way through the intricacies of the fashion business.

Posen, who designs 18 seasons annually across multiple brands, equated his job pleasing editors, customers and retailers to walking a high-wire. “It’s a tightrope,” he told Downing. “You have to find that fine balance. I call it all fashion-tainment.”

For Siriano, one of the breakout stars of “Project Runway” who showed his first collection in 2008, the conversation centered on much of what the young designer has learned thus far in his career. “When you’re first in the business, you pretend like you know how to do everything,” Siriano said. “If we didn’t know how to do something, we figured it out.”

Downing also prodded each designer on stage to give the audience a taste of future collections.

For Posen, resort will provide some continuation of the Seventies trend with more prints and an tropical vibe. Siriano, whose resort collection is currently in production, said he went after 1960s Palm Springs.

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