In terms of red carpet favorites, it doesn't get any bigger than Zac Posen.
Known for gorgeous dresses in opulent colors with expert tailoring -- not to mention his tight celebrity friends who wear his intricate designs with pride -- it's also refreshing to know that Posen remains one of the nicest guys in the business.
ETonline recently talked to Posen about everything from his most memorable red carpet moments, what it's like dressing his A-list friends/clients, his stint on Project Runway as well as his new decadent partnership with Magnum Ice Cream, for which he created a stunning 24-karat gold dress. Read on to find out what goes on in the mind of one of fashion's biggest names!
ETonline: You recently walked the CFDA Fashion Awards red carpet with Juliette Lewis, and it's well-known that you have a lot of close celebrity friends. When you have a relationship already with the person you're dressing, is it a different process?
Posen: Of course. I mean to start with, when somebody is actually able to come to our atelier and work with us, it actually becomes a true collaboration. And it becomes something more personal than just having a stylist that’s in, you know, a hotel room across the planet. It's all the nuances; it’s the very subtle nuances that create an incredible moment wearing a piece of clothing. It's very similar in the experience of working with the clients that buy my clothing when I go across the country in department stores, and I get to do the fitting on the pieces that are in stock in the store. And it makes it very personal; every proportion, the color, how they feel in the clothing, how to move in it. I can help them find the length between their personality, the character they want to play, and the character they are portraying in film and how that character relates to the piece of clothing they are wearing for the red carpet appearance. I mean, Juliette was amazing. I've worked with her for years. I'm obviously a huge fan of hers, and I'm a huge fan of her father’s, who’s an incredible character actor, and he's just quite iconic to my thirty-year-old generation. I always want the best in the world for all women, and especially the women that I admire, their artwork.
ETonline: Are there any particular celebrities whose styles you admire?
Posen: You know someone I've really enjoyed dressing is Naomi Watts this year. She's just wonderful in our clothing. She gets the balance between glamour, the future, the moment. She is such a fine actress, and she is incredible. She's had an incredible career and she's just started in a way.
ETonline: Do you have any particular favorite red carpet moments you look back on?
Posen: Well it's an interesting thing, [looking back] at the red carpets I've been on with the people in my clothing, and then moments when you see it on-air. You know, working with Glenn Close has been an incredibly gratifying experience. [Also] working with Kiernan Shipka, who came from Mad Men, who came from my studio. Sometimes through the power of dressing it can create a real friendship that's meaningful. We wanted her to be like, sort of, a mini Grace Kelly -- sort of with a wink and with humor. She is so sophisticated, and having grown up in Yew York with so many child performers, I've grown to have a huge amount of empathy for young performers. When a child is expected to perform as an adult, there's a great deal of sensitivity and there’s a great deal of experience and intelligence that they have differently from other kids who do not have working hours yet. Kiernan is incredibly intelligent, poised and curious, and her thirst for knowledge is going to lead her to be hopefully -- if she chooses to be -- a really fine actress. She has that "It" factor. Another great moment is when I was much younger with Natalie Portman, when we went to the VH1 Fashion Awards. That was my first moment when I saw the impact in person of, sort of, the power of the ingénue. I love the Fanning sisters.You know, as a person, who likes a form of sophistication and glamour, I'm always intrigued by the other side of the fence. I tend to love people that take risks on the red carpet and just express themselves as well.
ETonline: You were great on Project Runway. Are you going to be back for season 12?
Posen: I'm in the midst of filming!
Etonline: How's it going?
Posen: Really good! We started about a week and half ago, and it's been a very busy schedule. There's an incredible group of designers. They are driven -- they are passionate. It is going to be an incredible season for the fans who haven’t watched it in a few seasons. This is one to watch.
ETonline: How do you find the time for Project Runway and designing?
Posen: It's very challenging. Time management is an art. You switch mindsets. I try to leave my personal aesthetic at the door when I shoot Project Runway. The thing that I value more than anything else in the world is great teachers, and I've had amazing teachers in my life. My father -- who's an artist -- has throughout my career, been an incredible critic. I think it became hereditary or through listening to him. I tried to bring that to the set with the objective to be fun, and to get the most out of each individual creator. But the designers are very talented, the challenges are very challenging, the time constraints are intense. The drama is high.
ETonline: Let's talk about your partnership with Magnum Ice Cream. How did you get involved?
Posen: I got involved with Magnum when I fell in love with the ice cream bar a few years before we started, before Magnum approached us with this very rare and illustrious gold ice cream bar. You know, I love food. I cook and make ice cream. Listen -- ice cream is fun, it's yummy, and it's summery and internationally loved.
ETonline: Is it true that the 24-karat gold dress you designed worn by Caroline Correa in the As Good As Gold short film for the launch of Magnum Gold is worth $1.5 million?!
Posen: It's an expensive dress. It was definitely an endeavor in building. [We had] lots of high security. And I think what was fun in the inspiration of it was trying to make something very rare, very beautiful, one-of-a-kind that related to the liquid sensuality and the tastiness of Magnum Gold. We made it in New York and it took hours and hours and hours, and days and days of sewing sequins and laying different scale paillettes. Playing with the different 24-gold paillettes was sort of about sensuality with the human body and highlighting a woman's best asset. It's also something that would look great on film because there's a film that is part of the collaboration with Magnum. It was my acting debut on a set in Hollywood!
ETonline: What are some of the upcoming fashion trends that you see for this summer?
Posen: I think that we are evolved out of the skinny jeans. I think the non-platform is back. I think it’s a huge floral season, and we've moved away from sort of, digital kaleidoscope prints -- we're moving into more organic, more sensual prints. Clothing that has a humanistic quality hopefully will be back. I think one-piece bathing suits will be back. Cat eyes are still in [with] sunglasses. We have a great line of Illesteva sunglasses and we have a great cat eye shape that's doing very nicely.