For all the chatter about Zac Posen having once been the “enfant terrible” of fashion -- ohhh, his meteoric rise and, alas, mystifying fall (hey, the economy hit a lot of designers hard) -- Posen in many ways has a strong, traditionalist streak. Which may be why he’s managed to not completely go under, but eke it out season after season. Indeed, his dresses seem to be popping up on the red carpet with increasing frequency these days, and the new gig on “Project Runway” certainly can’t hurt.
Whatever his secret for survival, we’re grateful, because you don’t get the kind of show like he threw Sunday night all that often.
Held at the Terrace Room in The Plaza Hotel, with its grandeur and frescoes and such, the show had an old-school feel to it, like the kind of couture events once held in intimate Parisian salons. The dresses certainly suited that occasion — elegant peplum gowns and crystal-bedecked cocktail dresses (some separates, too, for you pants lovers out there) in rich shades of orchid, Bordeaux, mahogany and (an unusual choice) rust.
Yes, granted, a few of the velvet dresses seemed weighty and old-fashioned. And what’s with that music? As models walked along with a slow, dramatic gait, the Bob Dylan tune “Lay Lady Lay” (“lay across my big brass bed”) seemed… um... kind of an odd choice.
But by far it’s the geometry here -- his bold silhouettes and glorious, dramatic necklines -- that stands out. A luxurious camel cashmere coat was shaped like a bell, atop a pencil-thin embroidered dress. A rust stretch duchess satin peplum top was cinched tight to the waist. And wait, what’s that sound? Oh, of course, it must be that sepia and rust strapless bustier gown crying out for Salma Hayek or Penelope Cruz. Or maybe even Christina Hendricks. Let’s hope one of them heeds the call.