With more than 15 years of fashion experience under his belt, Zac Posen continues to innovate what it means to be a fashion designer in 2018. In lieu of a traditional NYFW runway show or presentation this season, Posen has opted to launch a dreamy set of imagery for his new spring-summer 2019 collection.
The images star 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 Hawke and Coppola are important figures in Posen’s life. He has watched each of them grow up and into their careers. With Coppola, the designer “watched her grow up and perfect herself as a filmmaker,” says Posen to Yahoo Lifestyle. With Hawke, she is someone he has known since she was a little girl and, like her parents, is on the verge of breaking into her own Hollywood career. Posen wanted “to capture this special moment and special summer [in Hawke’s life] before Stranger Things came out.” With this project, he wanted to “present her beauty and her character and her spirit. She’s incredibly special.“
The photo shoot takes place at the home of another close friend of Posen’s, designer Jacqueline Schnabel. Her Long Island home had been highly influential and formative to Posen’s youth, where he spent time as a teen and still visits to this day. At the time of our phone interview, Posen was at Schnabel’s home, ahead of Labor Day weekend.
The photographs have an emotive quality — evoking what you might have felt during the summer months as a teen while spending time at your grandmother’s house or your parents’ summer cottage, when everything felt glorious; the weather was beautiful — and school was not in sight. The images have a saturated, vintage quality to them, 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, artisanal gowns, which feature his “signature, architectural, anatomical beading” work. Posen wanted to also include wearable pieces outside of his typical red carpet gowns. After all, his customers range among women of all ages and locales. His Liberty floral-print shirt dresses, blouses, and shorts and classic white A-line dresses are a natural fit for this customer.
For Posen, this type of project “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 look book starring his close friend Katie Holmes for his fall-winter 2019 collection. However, he admits, “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.” 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 the importance of adapting 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, from Reese Witherspoon to Gwyneth Paltrow and Naomi Watts. In fall 2014, he was appointed the creative director of heritage suit label Brooks Brothers and most recently collaborated with Delta airlines to redesign its uniforms. On top of it all, he has penned a cookbook and 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 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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