MADE IN NY: ZAC POSEN ON THE BENEFITS OF SOURCING LOCALLY
Zac Posen is a native New Yorker born to an artist father and lawyer mother in SoHo in 1980. He was raised in a bohemian household where his creative pursuits were encouraged and supported by his family. In the early 2000s, Posen had an almost impossible ascent in the fashion world, launching his namesake label at the precocious age of 21 with a show inside a converted synagogue on the Lower East Side. The collection and his front row of socialite friends stole the season. From that spectacular debut, his clothes went on to become staples of red carpets and after-parties. He is a master draper and tailor whose innate talent far transcends any kind of training.
Today, Posen works on three collections out of his atelier—Zac Posen, ZAC Zac Posen, and his bridal line, Truly Zac Posen. In 2014, he was appointed creative director of Brooks Brothers women’s wear, a line he continues to invigorate with expert tailoring and an imaginative flair. In typical New Yorker fashion, Posen has an eclectic mix of interests finding respite in gardening and good cooking. He is one of the few designers who continue to keep every element of their brand in New York, maintaining a level of integrity that is increasingly challenging for most. For Posen, it’s a cinch. The pulse of the city is as much a part of his brand as a sweetheart silhouette.
Tell us about your New York. What does the city mean to you?
Zac Posen: Growing up in SoHo I was surrounded by so many incredibly artistic, talented, and interesting people. I had a real sense of community during my childhood and adolescence, and it is something I look back on very fondly. The energy that New York gives off is unparalleled and so special; I cannot imagine living anywhere else. Inspiration is everywhere: architecture, nature, street art.
In a time when most designers are producing in Asia and trying to show in Paris, you’re keeping everything in New York. Tell us about your reasoning behind this decision…
ZP: It gives me a great sense of pride and accomplishment to have my business run fully in New York. As a native New Yorker, I am so passionate about this city. My creativity blossomed here, my business began in my parents’ SoHo loft before moving to our first real office space in Tribeca. New York is at the heart of my company. The most rewarding aspect of this is my atelier being in the same space as our offices. It keeps the process so collaborative and allows me to really have my hands in every part of the business, not to mention, allowing me to have a personal connection with each and every one of my employees. That is something that is incredibly special to me and rare in this industry.
I imagine there’s a lot to keep up with. Where do you find yourself during the quiet moments between meetings, designing, planning shows and market?
ZP: Whenever I can, I go to at my parents’ house in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I am an avid gardener and feel very at peace in the outdoors. Being able to garden, read outside, and cook for my family is the best relaxation.
What’s your favorite place to host a party in New York?
ZP: In my home, of course! As most people know, I love to cook—it is my fashion detox. The ability to host friends and family in my home and cook for them is a true luxury to me and one of my life’s greatest joys. I published a cookbook, Cooking with Zac, last October. It was a dream to write. I had amazing collaborators throughout the two-and-a-half-year process of writing it. I am so proud of how it turned out.
Are you working on any other projects outside of fashion?
ZP: I recently designed a limited edition bottle of VieVité Rosé, a leading Côtes de Provence wine. It is made in Domaine Sainte Marie, which is located just outside of Saint Tropez. It is an absolutely stunning bottle and a delicious rosé. One of the most beautiful parts about this collaboration has been how incredibly compatible Christopher Duburcq and my values are. We are both extremely passionate about our roots—mine in Manhattan, and his in France. Our company’s locations and products reflect this affection and admiration for our homes. It is a true joy to get to bring these two places and vocations together in such a harmonious collaboration.
Can you tell us your favorite New York spots to…
Buy something tacky?
ZP: Canal Street.
Shop for inspiration?
Have breakfast on Saturday?
ZP: Sant Ambroeus or Harbs.
Have a drink with an out-of-town guest?
ZP: The Peninsula for a glass of VieVité Rosé x Zac Posen.
Find a gift for a host?
ZP: Zeze flowers.
Eat dinner alone?
ZP: At home, The Grille—Vito’s new restaurant, or Omen if I am downtown (which I rarely am).
Words Jenny Hartman