ZAC IN TOWN: It was a homecoming, of sorts, for Zac Posen who hosted a small dinner party in London on Wednesday to mark the arrival of his first women’s collection for Brooks Brothers.
Posen, a native downtown New Yorker, has strong London roots, having studied at Central Saint Martins, where he befriended the likes of the Dellal and de Villeneuve clans, who were out in force to support him.
“He hasn’t changed at all since then – still generous and genuine,” said filmmaker Poppy de Villeneuve, who met Posen when they were both students in London. “He was feeling a little homesick, so we took him in,” she said, adding that he quickly became one of the family.
Other guests at private club Loulou’s in Mayfair included Daisy and Jan de Villeneuve, Charlotte Olympia Dellal, Andrea Dellal, Erin O’Connor, Marissa Montgomery, Kinvara Balfour, Bay Garnett, Jasmine Guinness and Nina Marenzi.
De Villeneuve said Posen had the messiest bedroom ever, “with scraps of fabric everywhere,” and her mother Jan added that he would regularly go through her closet hunting for fashion treasures at the family home on the Portobello Road in Notting Hill. Jan also said Posen has a rare combination of creativity and business savvy. “That comes from his parents – his mother is a lawyer, and his father is an artist.”
Dellal, who also knows Zac from their student days, said she doesn’t see enough of him anymore – and dreams of having one of his gowns. “He’s one of those designers who still makes clothes with a real woman in mind. He’s not about the trends.”
Posen said his time in London – he arrived in 1998 and left in 2001 – was a magical one: “Alexander McQueen was still showing here, and I was the last person to squeak into his Asylum show – I think it was Plum Sykes who let me in the door,” said Posen.
Asked how he used to dress then, the Brooks Brothers-clad Posen described his look as: “Pretty wild – punk-dandy with British exoticism.”
He said they were certainly heady years: “I met Jessica Joffe, Anita Pallenberg and Jefferson Hack. I was cast in a Bella Freud campaign and in a Mario Testino shoot for Vogue. I immersed myself in the culture – as much as I could take in.” At the time he was also designing and selling “tea-stained, velvet-piped T-shirts.”
It was some journey – and a long way from the cotton shirt dresses, silk scarves and tweeds of his snappy debut collection for the American brand.