“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.”
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)