Zac Posen’s Business May Be in ‘Survival Mode,’ But He Will Not Pose With Sesame Street Characters for Publicity

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

Zac Posen exploded as a red-carpet design darling several years ago. He admits his fast rise to the spotlight inflated his ego as a young designer. In some ways that may be a bad thing. But his brazenness led him to do something amazing last April. He was at a dinner at La Grenouille to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Cartier. Editors from magazines in which Cartier advertises were there, of course, including Glenda Bailey from Harper's Bazaar. Posen sat down next to her and asked why the magazine was apparently slighting his work. They rarely featured his clothes, but wanted him to appear in a spread of fashion designers posing with Sesame Street characters.

From the Times:

“I didn’t want to model with the Count,” Mr. Posen said. “She said that was the only way my clothes could be in the magazine as a non-advertiser. I think she was surprised I wouldn’t take the part, but I stood my ground and I still do.”

Posen does not like to be referred to as a "young" designer, so of course he wouldn't want to be aligned with Sesame Street. In December, he went into what he called "survival mode." Investors cut funding, two top executives left the company, and the media had a small field day over it.

Yet Posen is adapting. He's launching a lower-priced line for Saks called Z Spoke and did a one-off collection for Target for spring. He's also considering keeping a greater distance from the media. To save money, he'll stage his Fashion Week show at 9 a.m. on February 15 in a way that will allow the clothes, not the designer, to be the star. In the meantime he's busy draping his own dresses in a tent set up in the middle of his Tribeca studio. The Times doesn't explain the tent — did he erect it himself? Is it from Eastern Mountain Sports? — but maybe it helps show he can still be eccentric with his ego tucked away. It may also make for a handy hiding place for when reporters drop by.

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