Zac Posen has taken his final bow. The American fashion designer known most for his iconic couture dresses announced over the weekend the closure of his namesake label. This unfortunate news comes at a turbulent time in fashion industry – Barneys New York, America’s pinnacle of luxury retail for the better part of the last century, was recently sold for scraps.
Since the turn of the millennium, Posen has made a name for himself as a modern couturier. His creations often embodied the same glamour and extravagance as his predecessors Charles James and Oscar de la Renta, but he also knew how to dress women for today. “He approaches his art with such passion and inspiration,” Katie Holmes, a long-time client of Posen’s and his occasional Met Gala date said to Vogue two years ago. “He’s a survivor, a visionary, and he’s always been this incredibly magical person.”
What Posen had going for him was a drive for innovation. He gave us a glimpse of what 21st-century haute couture should look like when Claire Danes walked the 2016 Met Gala red carpet in a Cinderella-esque gown outfitted with hundreds of fibre optic lights that made it glow in the dark. He took it up another notch during this year’s festivities, partnering with General Electric to 3D-print dresses for five attendees including Holmes and Jourdan Dunn.
However, it might not be the last we’ll see of Posen – the designer is expected to continue his relationship with Brooks Brothers as their womenswear creative director. But for now, he’s taking a break to gather his bearings after a decision as tough as this. “Hopefully, I’ll have a long career ahead. I need to take a little time to think about my options,” He said in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily. “I’ve been focused on my brand for a long time. Now, this is a new stage.”
To commemorate the end of an era, we revisit some of Posen’s most iconic creations since his explosion on the fashion circuit almost twenty years ago.
Natalie Portman, Star Wars Premiere, 2002
The dress that catapulted Posen into the spotlight.
Liu Wen, Met Gala
Liu Wen in a emerald Zac Posen gown to honour the legendary American couturier Charles James.
Dita von Teese, Met Gala, 2014
The Queen of Burlesque wearing a gown that blends into the red carpet.
Naomi Campbell, Zac Posen Ready-to-Wear Winter, 2015
The supermodel Naomi Campbell in an extravagant ball gown.
Claire Danes, Met Gala, 2016
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Over 500 hours went into the creation of this French organza gown. Despite being fitted with 30 mini battery packs to power the fibre optic lights in the dress, it doesn’t weigh any heavier than Posen’s usual designs.
Viola Davis, SAG Awards, 2016
Viola Davis looked ravishing in a Zac Posen creation at the SAG Awards, where she won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for her performance on How to Get Away with Murder.
Miley Cyrus, Grammy Awards, 2018
Miley Cyrus proves that she’s more than a twerking sensation on a wrecking ball in a beautiful magenta tulle gown by Zac Posen.
Ashley Graham, Academy Awards, 2019
Sarah Jessica Parker, New York City, 2019
Wearing a pair of mismatched shoes, Sarah Jessica Parker steps out into New York City in a ruffled Zac Posen gown.
Jourdan Dunn, Julia Garner, Nina Dobrev, Vito Schnabel, Gia Coppola, Katie Holmes, Met Gala, 2019
Zac Posen and his posse wearing his 3D-printed gowns for the Met Gala.