Even without the embattled seat shuffling and front-row cat-fighting that took place just minutes before the show was scheduled to start (read the full backstory here), there was still plenty to talk about leaving Zac Posen Sunday night.
The setting itself was magnificent, and perfectly tuned to the backdrop of Lincoln Center at dusk. Posen chose a dramatic strip of Avery Fisher Hall’s covered balcony in lieu of the standard white runway, lending guests the feeling of sitting on a bench in a fancily-lit park or peeking down a dim and temptingly-discreet alleyway. “A Sunday Kind of Love” played dreamily overhead, and a crisp breeze cut through the air of another warm September night—the stage could hardly have been more romantic. The show’s megastar roster, which included Naomi Campbell, Angelina Lindvall and Karolina Kurkova, was just further evidence to the power of performance on the runway, particularly one this unique. They didn’t walk and stomp robotically at the cameras; they literally sauntered down the exceptionally long track instead, playful and flirtatious, rocking their hips in time to the music, slinking into the glare of beaming spotlights before eventually fading from view… The effect was lovely.
And pleasantly, so were the clothes. They neither competed with Posen’s charming mis en scène nor failed to shine on their own. Built to classically feminine hourglass shapes, the looks contained recognizable silhouettes from the Old World to Old Hollywood, and from the 1940s through (at least) the 1960s. The scattered Victorian-inspired pieces in jewel-toned dutchess satin were the show’s weakest components, but nearly everything else struck an ideal balance between understated and prepossessing, sweet and seductive. And because the unifying ambiance worked to complement and carry the collection as a whole, the wide variation in style between looks never felt strange or disjointed. Highlights go to the hibiscus print silk twill and chiffon day dress, worn by Campbell to open the show; the slate pintuck tulle boustier and architectural cocktail skirt, a slightly daring version of a demure ballerina look; and the Harlem rose printed tulle ball gown, which wasn’t quite as spectacular as the white jacquard organza finale, but it was one of the most uniquely stunning gowns I’ve seen all week.