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Zac Posen Fall/Winter 09 at New York Fashion Week

March 3, 2009
Zac Posen fall/winter 09 collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Zac Posen fall/winter 09 collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

You wouldn’t necessarily expect Zac Posen’s collection for fall/winter 09 to be so opulent that the very garments are dripping with jewels and old world decadence. That seems to be exactly the mood behind this latest collection by Posen, who sent off his showpieces to the live performance of classical music last month at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.

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The Collection

Over-sized shoulders, ornate collars, high-shine satins and metallic fabrics: not a fold out of place. The Zac Posen collection could very well be set costumes for a futuristic movie experiencing a cultural revival à la Marie Antoinette. While the broad poofy skirts might be too 18th century for Posen, he retains the overall shape but moves up the hem and tops it with either high collars on corseted jackets or squared-off cleavages on evening gowns. Tuffs of fabric trail from the models’ behinds to produce an exaggerated female booty and layers of chiffon and satin are structured into modest accordion-like folds reminding of delicate fans. We’ve seen this before- about 300 years ago in fact.

Zac Posen fall/winter 09 collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Posen's 'old world' collection borrows freely from the Kremlin in Moscow and the ballroom in pre-French Revolution France

Marie Antoinette film (2006)

Marie Antoinette film (2006)

And he speaks Russian, too

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Heavy-handed Russian aesthetics translate into cloudy day colours and busy prints trimmed with fur. The shoulders are robust and the waists are belted by multi-hued jewels. What recession? This is what we mean by a rich collection.

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The Look

The restrained modesty of the covered body is over-compensated by the abundance of ornamentation in the shape of rosettes, flowing capes, bows, jeweled belts, butterflies and layered folds of draping fabric. Everything is over-the-top: subtle tights glitter, fish nets get glammed through transparent boots speckled with multi-coloured crystals. Feet are wrapped in silk ballerina bows or heeled with plush burgundy velour.

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The hair is styled in a French roll that gathers height and volume on the top setting off a narrow gold-braided spiked head band. Jewels appear at the ears, waist, and in choker pieces. Nails are short and painted black, while the makeup is a porcelain finish on the skin accented by dramatic long-lashed smoky eyes and tangerine lips. A little vampy but very 2009.

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And while the vast majority of this collection waltzes with glamour and decadence, Zac Posen’s collection offers futuristic shapes that are completely unrelated to the rest. This mix is unfortunately too thematically polar and with little to bridge the gap, the juxtaposition of deep-rooted tradition and 21st-century minimalism reads as two separate mini collections. 

The collection within the collection: futuristic minimalism

The collection within the collection: futuristic shapes

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Certainly no one would say that Zac Posen’s fall/winter 09 collection did not entertain. Unlike his flirty old Hollywood-inspired pre-fall collection, this dark and gloomy and sometimes downright ‘fugly’ lineup challenges our cultural tastes. As to whether we’ll applaud these confections on red carpets and celebrity mad dashes between limos and bistros, that remains to be seen. Only the most daring fashionistas need apply.

Zac Posen, centre, with models wearing his fall/winter 09 collection

Zac Posen, centre, with models wearing his fall/winter 09 collection

 

Video highlights of Zac Posen’s fall/winter 09 collection:

Read my review of Zac Posen’s Pre-fall/winter 09 collection here.

Images for Zac Posen fall/winter 09 collection courtesy of Zimbio.com. View more pictures from this collection on Zimbio.com’s website. Marie Antoinette image collage courtesy of Pretty Petals Boutique blog.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jordana permalink
    March 3, 2009 10:26 pm

    To my own surprise – I’m actually really enjoying Posen’s collection. My favourite are those ballerina shoes. Ribbons galore and I approve!
    It’s interesting though – with all this talk of economic breakdowns and recession – how much opulence is in his collection. Fur, jewels, satin and crystals – is it too over-the-top?

  2. denis permalink
    March 4, 2009 9:09 am

    It’s nice to see a little fantasy in design – even if it’s primarily old world based. I’d love to see an article on visionary fashion in the online and gaming world – a great deal of work goes into their character creation.

  3. March 4, 2009 11:31 am

    I feel that there are many aspects of the collection that are interesting but overall, I wouldn’t run out and rave about it. I think that this collection is an interesting one but not a very wearable set. I think it is a little too much- the presses are humming that it’s in ‘bad taste’ to be going around lavishly during these hard economic times. I think that regardless of the economy, this collection is just too much of everything.

    Except the ballerina shoes and the see-through boots. I could handle those right now :)

    – Johanne

  4. Jordana permalink
    March 4, 2009 12:57 pm

    See-through boots — seems like a bit of a contradiction to me. Ha ha. Aren’t boots supposed to be warm? Interesting note about visionary fashion in the gaming world, Denis. I wonder if Posen inspires the gamers?

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