story by Sandy Ramirez
photos by Sandy Ramirez, Freda Henry, and Charles Beckwith
Thursday night, after a long week of relatively little fashion excitement, we were shocked by what was perhaps the best show we have ever seen during any New York Fashion Week in memory.
For the Zac Posen F/W 2009 Collection, accompanied by the the neoclassical pieces of Stravinsky and Holst, played live in a special arrangement with five full size Steinway grand pianos aligned down the center of the runway, the likes of Alek Wek, Chanel Iman, Natasha Poly, Sasha Pivovarova, Catherine McNeil, Lily Donaldson, Heidi Mount, Iris Strubegger, Hannelore Knuts, and Coco Rocha paraded out wearing clothing befitting the era in which this music was written, one of the greatest ages for fashion the world has ever seen, La Belle Epoque.
Highly tailored garments with amazing cuts echoed the S-curve silhouette popular at the turn of the 20th century prior to World War I, and reminded of the looks before the revolution those immortal designers such as Poiret, Lucille and Vionnet brought. The genius of Posen’s Fall 2009 collection however, is not that he merely copied the most classic of vintage designs, but seems to have wholesale reinvented them for this new age.
Working in silk, satins and crinolines, with fur and leather trims, these designs dance in the imagination. This is not some rehash of the Gibson Girl, but the birth of her successor.
When Posen walked down the runway to stanzas of the wedding march from The Firebird, even those of us busy shooting from the media riser cheered “Bravo!” As he, Paz de la Huerta, and the quintet of pianists took bows, Posen stood proudly with his supporters, yet stood alone, as champion, maestro, and genius behind an orchestration of historic proportions.