“Advanced contemporary” and “upper contemporary” are part of the industry terminology bandied about for clothes priced around $500. The category has emerged as the hot market that everyone wants in on, including Zac Posen, who’s bringing Zac Zac Posen to the table. During a preview last week, Posen’s president, Jillian Sinel, classified the collection as “contemporary luxury or maybe gold range,” adding that it’s meant to compete with M Missoni, Red Valentino and Tory Burch, which have historically been grouped under the dusty department store parlance “bridge.” Whatever retail folk are calling it, “most importantly, the name is easy,” said Posen.
Three years ago, the designer introduced the quirkily titled lower-priced collection Z Spoke, a play on the word “bespoke,” in a much-hyped retail exclusive with Saks Fifth Avenue. Conceived as a young and affordable accompaniment to Posen’s romantic, often dramatic designer line, Z Spoke seemed to encounter a bumpy road: Saks eventually dropped it, and it’s now in limited distribution at Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor. Working on Z Spoke, where prices are under $200 and which makes up about 20 percent of Posen’s business, is what got him thinking about Zac Zac Posen. “In building into such strict price requirements for Z Spoke, we started to learn that with a slightly higher price point, you can get a lot more out of the product,” said Posen. “You can get a level of fabric quality that’s a lot nicer, and it enables it to expand into evening.” Posen is a celebrity red-carpet favorite, and his gowns feature prominently on his designer runway.
The idea of a true contemporary collection came up a year ago, while Posen and Sinel were on a plane to a designer trunk show in Las Vegas. Recognizing contemporary as “the golden price point,” as Posen called it, he was not interested in doing the edgy denim- and jersey-driven stuff that has flooded the market. He should know — Posen shares his ceo, Susan Davidson, with Scoop NYC.
“We did a lot of soul-searching,” said Sinel, who would bring Posen merch from the contemporary market — bestsellers from Scoop, for example — to see if any of it would inspire him. “I thought, ‘Why do I have to make you this?’” said Posen. “Me combining a leather patch on a heathered gray jersey is great, but it’s not the most natural thing for me to offer. And for something to be successful it has to be honest and natural.” They weighed in with their retailers, too, and found that what stores want from Posen is “a dressed-up look,” said Sinel. “It has to be a put-together outfit. You can’t just throw a shirt and a pair of pants together and hope it sticks. It also can’t be the same as everybody else.”
It stands to note that a black leather motorcycle jacket and leather pants found their way into the Zac Zac Posen fall offering, but the majority of the collection was built around Posen’s signature stretch jersey dresses with architectural seaming, printed blouses and matching skirts, stretch faille jackets and pants and three-piece suits in jacquard with a shot of metallic thread. There are also handbags done in a license with Mondani, as well as a major evening and cocktail dress component.
Posen and Sinel see major potential for eveningwear priced between $690 for cocktail and $1,690 for gowns; styles include a floor-length sequined leopard-print gown and a mint-green satin number with a jewel-embellished neckline. Every gown will be available in every color, “like Garanimals,” said Posen. He previewed the collection to retailers for pre-fall and has confirmed Neiman Marcus, Saks, Intermix, Scoop and Harvey Nichols.
Another reason Posen feels the time is right for Zac Zac Posen is his role on “Project Runway.” For those who might have lost track of the show, Posen has replaced Michael Kors in the role of quippy designer that he occupied for 10 seasons. Episodes featuring Posen started airing Thursdays at 9 p.m. last month on Lifetime. “We’re entering a moment when we’re on TV on a weekly basis,” said Posen, going back to the simplicity of titling the collection. “It’s important to give the customers who want it in the store that clear name.”
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
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye