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Z Spoke Zac Posen: Deft Diffusion Fashion

Godfrey Deeny
September 11th, 2010 @ 8:48 PM - New York

Today’s busy schedule of fashion in Lincoln Center climaxed with the runway show of Z Spoke, the diffusion or junior line of Zac Posen, America’s best young showman designer.

Posen has shown the Z Spoke collection before, but this was its runway debut, and a crowd of some 1,400 packed into the custom-built show space to witness its more public launch on Saturday, Sept. 11.

What they saw was a hyper color, multi-print and witty take on youth fashion; an item driven collection that seems destined to find this young designer a far larger following.

Posen is someone of a rarity in America. He’s in many ways a couture designer, obsessed with draping and drama, rather than a typical American designer, whose focus is sportswear. Posen now plans to show his signature line in Paris during next month’s French season, a gutsy move for sure and one to applaud.

His Z Spoke collection opened brilliantly, a fire engine red double knit coat over animal print dress worn by beauty Sessilee Lopez, who carried an ecru tote bearing a huge ZP Logo. Worn with huge spiky heeled platforms, it was a jaunty statement, and a crowd-winning opener.

The audience – which included Claire Danes, Kimora Lee and Russell Simmons - also loved the amateur histrionics of Anna Cleveland, daughter of legendary model Pat Cleveland, who emoted in a fruit cocktail print gown like a tragic silent movie actress lost in a burlesque theater.

Respecting his own design DNA with lots of high collars, ruffles, flouncy skirts and wacky lingerie elements, Posen achieved what designers are meant to achieve with lower priced lines, which is to provide a more democratic version of their top line.

But, where Posen’s collections often evoke French couture of the Fifties, no bad thing at all, this recalled Carnaby Street and Swinging London, albeit with an oddly trashy element. Quite frankly, it is hard to imagine too many girls actually wearing these clothes with anything like the makeup used in the show – garish turquoise and orange eye liner and rouge lips worthy of a Pigalle Madame.

That said, the face print tops, smart denim dresses, daisy print cocktails and voile blouses all looked like items that will do fine on retails shelves, meaning Posen’s strategic game plan seemed wise.

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