Even ‘Project Runway’ Couldn’t Save Zac Posen


Once upon a time, again in ye olde days of 2002, a younger designer, simply shy of 21 years outdated, was found by a retailer that was well-known all through the land for crowning the brand new princes of vogue. And so he was named, and so he was celebrated, and so it got here to move — at the least for awhile.

He made huge, lavish ball robes. He wore high hats and tails. The most well-known girls wore his garments and have become his pals. Rich males invested. He received awards. He was on a actuality TV present. He had a documentary made about him.

And final week, each his firm and the shop that first discovered him met their demise.

On Friday, not lengthy after a chapter court docket in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., put the ultimate stamp on the sale of Barneys’ mental property to Authentic Brands Group, starting the closure of its bricks and mortar shops, liquidation of its stock and the beginning of its new life as a disembodied model, an announcement got here that Zac Posen’s board had “determined to cease business operations and carry out an orderly disposition of its assets.”

Essentially, after what the announcement known as a “comprehensive strategic and financial review of the businesses,” his backers had misplaced religion within the firm. Ron Burkle of Yucaipa Companies, the bulk proprietor, had been making an attempt to promote his stake since April, with no success.

Maybe. Or maybe what the end of Barneys and the end of Zac Posen (at least as we currently know them) is really about is the end of a certain kind of fashion story, one that hasn’t really been relevant for awhile.

After all, Mr. Posen is not the first of his generation of designers — the generation that emerged post-9/11 and pre-global downturn, and was thrust into the spotlight very early on as part of a concerted effort to create a positive narrative in a dark time — to hit the hurdle of the changing business of today and not be able to get over it. He is simply the designer probably best known outside the ivory tower of fashion.

And not long after they arrived, all of that changed. The premises on which Mr. Posen and his peers based their careers — that a seal of approval from Vogue, for example, was all the push you needed; that celebrities on the red carpet were the best marketing you could have; that a department store like Barneys was the open door to a consumer sector — no longer held true in the fractured age of social media, peer influencers and direct communication.

They were following one plotline, and all of a sudden it went veering off in multiple different directions.

Mr. Posen’s began as the charming wunderkind who grew up in TriBeCa, went to the arts-oriented private school Saint Ann’s, did a stint at Parsons, and was discovered before he had even graduated from Central Saint Martins in London. Naomi Campbell wore his clothes; so did Natalie Portman, Claire Danes, Katie Holmes and Lena Dunham.

The fairy tales of today center on nontraditional start-ups, disrupters geared toward a different value system (also a different commercial system). Their heroes have names like Supreme and Everlane and Outdoor Voices; Telfar and Pyer Moss. They are less about escapism, glamour and the power brokers of old, and more about the urgency of contemporary issues. They are built on a different kind of community and identity politics, and they have a different story arc.

Mr. Posen says he will be back. If so, that will be a fable to watch. For now, it’s about time fashion woke up and started rewriting its own myths.



Source link Nytimes.com

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