Zac Posen launched his lower-priced line, Z Spoke, last night at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. The clothes differ from his runway collection for several reasons, the main one being that it can fit larger women. "It's a dream of my life to be able to make a collection that can work for so many different kinds of women," he told us. "This is about dressing America." While his runway pieces run up to a size 12 in stores, Z Spoke, which Saks Fifth Avenue stocks exclusively, includes up to a size 14 for the spring/summer collection, and will expand to include size 16 for fall 2010. Is this a reaction to the emphasis on curves lately? Perhaps. But according to Posen, it's just a matter of confronting reality. "It means we're able to really address our planet. And how women are and look, and really make a difference."
Z Spoke is also different from Posen's runway collection because it focuses on daywear instead of his typical cocktail dresses and evening gowns, however figure skating-ish those may be. "Labor, enthusiasm, and seduction are what translate between the two [collections]," he told us. Z Spoke ranges in its offerings, from a cotton tank for $78 to a red stretch dress for $675. There are also crochet tops, khaki skirts, and chino shorts, all for $295 each, and a bunch of pieces that feature patterns, prints, and stripes. With his push toward dressing America, we wondered if he was at all concerned about the myth that stripes make regular, non-supermodel women look fat. "No, I think that stripes make a great photo," he explained. "And because the stripes are all isolated into fit-friendly places." We pointed to a stretch yellow skirt that had a panel of orange, white, and blue stripes going down the center from the waistline to the hem that was stretched so tight on a mannequin that the fake person had a bubble butt, and asked him if this could possibly look flattering on a woman of a larger size. "Absolutely," he asserted. "Wear color. Wear patterns. I don't think it's about women feeling always just skinnier," he said. "I think it's about women feeling comfortable and embracing their bodies. As a designer, that's always been my philosophy."