Zac Posen Takes a Trip to Houston

Designer Zac Posen hobnobs with socialites and stages a fall runway show at the Saks Fifth Avenue in Houston.

Houston, it’s Zac calling.

This story first appeared in the April 28, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Zac Posen traveled to the Lone Star State last week for a whirlwind visit, culminating with his fall runway show, which Saks Fifth Avenue invited him to stage at a 250-guest luncheon to benefit the Houston Grand Opera.

“Houston was incredible,” Posen said. “The women and seeing how they make designer clothing and my clothing come to life, and how they create whole outfits out of it….It’s really finding the place in America where there is true sophistication and connoisseurs of Zac Posen.”

The three-day trip kicked off April 20 when Becca Cason Thrash, a longtime friend and client of Posen’s, opened her home to welcome him and a gaggle of local socialites for a “Glamour Girls, Night Out”-themed event. The group of 60 or so then moved on for a dinner at acclaimed eatery Cafe Annie.

“It is the highest concentration of market research and inspiration I can find,” Posen said.

The partying continued the next day, when Gracie Cavanar, a supporter of the Grand Opera, was host at a pre-benefit dinner in the designer’s honor at her home. Posen enlisted Lynn Wyatt as his date for the night, and she wore one of his white suits. It featured a revealing back slit that was mirrored in her blouse, offering a peek of skin.

Between the women and the frocks, Posen found time to explore the city’s art collections, starting with Thrash’s new collection of Richard Prince pieces, as well as a private tour of The Menil Collection and the Cy Twombly museum, and a visit to the city’s Rothko Chapel. He also toured the Manil home, which was created by Phillip Johnson with interiors by Charles James, a designer Posen admires.

On Wednesday, Posen staged his fall runway show during a luncheon at the Zaza hotel, which was followed by a champagne reception and shopping event at a pop-up Saks boutique at the hotel. “We were able to sell numerous special-order pieces from the show, from the Pamela Love for Zac Posen jewelry to the encrusted stockings to gowns,” he said.

The event raised more than $100,000 for the Houston Grand Opera.