Even with more than 15 years of fashion experience under his belt, Zac Posen keeps redefining what it means to be a fashion designer. His latest move? Opting to launch a set of dreamy images instead of a traditional NYFW runway show to unveil his new spring-summer 2019 collection.
The gorgeous lookbook and video trailer stars Maya Hawke, daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, and was shot by Gia Coppola, granddaughter of esteemed filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. The project was extremely personal to Posen, who wanted to create something authentic, intimate, and enduring for his new collection.
Both Maya and Gia are important figures in Posen’s life, as he has watched each of them grow up and into their careers. “I watched her grow up and perfect herself as a filmmaker,” Posen tells Yahoo Lifestyle regarding Gia.
Similarly, he has known Maya — now on the verge of breaking into her own Hollywood success story (she’ll be featured in the upcoming season of Stranger Things) — since she was a little girl. He says he wanted “to capture this special moment and special summer before Stranger Things came out.” With the launch of his collection, he says he wanted to “present her beauty and her character and her spirit. She’s incredibly special.“
The beautiful shoot took place at the home of another close friend of Posen’s, designer Jacqueline Schnabel. Her place on Long Island, New York — where he spent time as a teen and still visits to this day (and in fact was stationed for this story’s phone interview) — has been highly influential and formative for the designer.
The new images have an emotive quality, evoking the summer-freedom feeling of youth when everything felt glorious, and they have a saturated, vintage quality, thanks to Coppola’s discerning eye. They help illustrate the rich color palette in Posen’s collection: radiant aquas, rosy pinks, and eggshell yellows.
The collection highlights Posen’s iconic voluminous gowns, which feature his “signature, architectural, anatomical beading” work. But he also wanted to include wearable pieces, outside of his typical red carpet gowns, as his customer base includes a range of women of all ages and locales. His Liberty floral-print shirt dresses, blouses, and shorts, as well as his classic white A-line dresses, are a natural fit for much of his real-world clientele.
This type of project, Posen notes, “tells more about a brand, because you can tell the depth of the narrative that one is unable to [gather from just] clothing walking down a runway.”
Posen has opted out of a runway show or presentation at NYFW for a few seasons now. In February, he released a lookbook starring his close friend Katie Holmes for his fall-winter 2019 collection. “I love a great runway show, but I also I wanted to create something that I can look back at and actually have something besides an archive of clothing,” he explains. With “imagery and short films, you can create that excitement that lasts longer, closer to the time that the clothing arrives in the store,” which typically takes six months after a show debuts on the catwalk.
Posen understands the marketplace is not what it used to be, and that it’s vital to be able to adapt as a designer. “It’s important to take [these] kinds of risks strategically… if fashion can’t change, there’s no more fashion — in the way it presents, in the way it sells, in the way its made.” But still, Posen says, a fashion show isn’t out of sight. For if and when this happens, he’ll at least have had the time and space to make it special — to “really put in the thought and care into creating something that I can give that magic to.”
Posen can easily be described as the fashion industry’s Renaissance man. He possesses more than a decade of fashion design experience and has dressed Hollywood’s biggest A-listers, including Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Naomi Watts. In fall 2014, he was appointed the creative director of heritage suit label Brooks Brothers, and he most recently collaborated with Delta airlines to redesign its uniforms. On top of it all, he has penned a cookbook and has served as a judge on Project Runway.
Posen may be best known for his glamorous artisanal-quality gowns, but he continues to flourish as a designer, always staying two steps ahead.
Below, watch an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of the Zac Posen SS19 collection shoot, starring Maya Hawke and shot by Gia Coppola.
(Video: Courtesy of Zac Posen)
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