Zac Posen Makes His Paris Debut, Accused of Trying Too Hard

By
Photo: Imaxtree

Zac Posen created a slight upset in the New York calendar when he decided to reserve our fair land for the showing of only his lower-priced Z Spoke line and take his collection show to Paris. Well, that finally walked today, and critics don't seem to believe the move did him any good.

Apparently, Yohji Yamamoto, who sat front-row at Posen's show, suggested the young New Yorker bring his collection to Paris. Posen is an outspoken admirer of couture, and aimed to employ those sorts of techniques in the spring 2011 line. He even described it as "couture for day" — but critics aren't convinced.

Christina Binkley of The Wall Street Journal thought the collection felt "unfortunate" at times and "tried too hard":


Perhaps it was the juxtaposition with the highly ornate ballroom at Paris’s Westin hotel, or maybe it was the difficult comparison with the high-concept designers in Paris, but the collection tried too hard to grab attention with boudoir games.

Costumey pink feathers streamed from transparent black negligees. Tight ruching up the back of skirts added an unfortunate sort of evening allure.

There were some apparent fit problems that may have stemmed from the complications of designing a collection in New York while showing it in Paris.

WWD just came out and said the move to Paris did him "no favors":


Posen did himself no favors by choosing as his venue the spectacular, 19th-century gilded ballroom of the Westin Hotel, formerly the InterContinental, and still synonymous with the couture shows of the late Yves Saint Laurent. This room, and this city, it must be said, expects to see better clothes than what Posen paraded.

Suzy Menkes fails to see the daytime appeal in any of it:


Even the evening gowns were dressy by any standards.

Daytime? Perhaps Mr. Posen thought he had sorted that with the debut of his second Z-Spoke collection in New York. Or maybe, if you are thinking showgirls, the outfit for a noontime wake-up coffee would be a body-skimming mesh jumpsuit, perhaps with a curvy little jacket. And feathers.

It reminded the Associated Press of a strip club:


The sultry palette of blood orange, coral and rich velvety reds recalled the mise-en-scene at Paris' classy strip clubs, like the legendary Lido or the Crazy Horse.

It was a bold Paris debut for Posen, a one-time critical darling whose label has hit hard financial times of late.

Still, initial reaction to the show — which included a heavy-hitting lineup of top models like Carmen Kass and Isabelle Fontana — appeared mixed. Applause was tepid, and the A-list guests made a beeline for the exit as soon as the lights went up.

No one seems to be softening their true feelings — and that is a rare thing in fashion reporting.

See a complete runway slideshow of Zac Posen's spring 2011 collection.