Award-winning designer Zac Posen presents a fashion masterclass in Riyadh | Bot To News


RIYADH: Local and international visitors attended renowned fashion designer Zac Posen’s live master class on dress draping techniques, intricacies of the fashion industry and the process of creating a luxury brand at Diriyah’s Jax District in Riyadh.

The two-hour masterclass also addressed the practical side of design. As he began dressing a mannequin in vibrant red fabric, using only scissors and pins, starting his technique from the neck, Posen took questions from the audience.

“It’s all about purpose… Even if (a dress) is about exaggeration or glamour, for me, no matter how big it is, it has to be wearable,” she said.

“You can always keep going into a piece. Sometimes time runs out, and that’s the answer. . . . There’s that moment when you know offhand that it’s ready. You’ll feel it.”

I think my journey and my purpose is really to show everyone else that they can express themselves through their creativity.

Zac Posen

Known for creating iconic red carpet looks for A-list celebrities, Posen is the son of American painter Stephen Posen, so art runs in the family.

Her journey began when Posen found her calling for fashion behind the scenes spending countless hours in the high school costume shop.

“I think my journey and my purpose is really to show everyone else that they can express themselves through their creativity,” he said during the master class.

Surrounded by British models on the New York fashion scene in 1996, with the likes of Karen Elson, Erin O’Connor and Jade Parfitt, Posen described it as a formative period.

“There was a new breath of air in fashion. I think the craft of fashion, especially in France and Europe, was at a very high point and creativity, expression and a new romantic movement had come into fashion,” said the designer.

Interning at the Instituto do Vestiario at the age of 16, the “life-changing” experience was the first time he truly understood the intricacies of clothing design on a deeper level and its historical significance.

“I grew up in a house where art is not decoration. Art is about experience. Art is not about monetary value, it is about expression, experience, emotion and storytelling. But I started to understand that and embrace it,” he said.

After spending the summer at Parsons New School for Design and within New York’s lively Garment District, she began to develop her own design style, experimenting with making evening wear for her friends.

Fully immersed in the city’s expressive underground drag queen culture in the late 1990s, he left for London to attend Central Saint Martins art school, which was a challenging but impressionable time for the designer.

“With the high competition, you couldn’t leave your clothes or whatever you were working on (on) the table. It would disappear, it would be chopped up, in the trash. You had to close it or take it home,” he said.

It was during his early days in London that Posen met Italian actress and style icon Anita Pallenberg, who took him under her wing and gave him the opportunity to model in a campaign with John Malkovich for designer Bella Freud.

Two years into fashion school, Posen’s buzz began around his designs and he established a clientele base in London.

One of her designs had caught the eye of top model Naomi Campbell, who was determined to meet the designer after she saw a dress worn by Posen’s friend on the Eurostar.

“She was incredibly kind and loving and she wanted me to make her clothes, she gave me money to buy fabric. We took her measurements… I started making clothes for her and the buzz was building and then (a) New York Times writer called and said, ” I want to write an article about seeing this dress, and you, and the journey of this dress.”

“I knew it could go either way, and I thought that opportunity is not a long visitor, let’s try this,” he said.

The interview paid off, attracting notable attention from Barney’s, Fashion TV and the Victoria and Albert Museum, which now exhibits a multitude of his designs as part of its permanent collection.

He was then lured back to New York, where he started his workshop in his parents’ living room, investing his $10,000 savings in the brand.

He then produced a capsule collection for GenArt as part of his “Fresh Faces in Fashion New York 2001” show.

He is known for feminine designs that highlight the architecture of the body in a way that reflects the fluidity and smoothness of movement.

One of his biggest moments, Posen said, was when actress Natalie Portman wore one of his designs to the premiere of “Star Wars: Episode I” after his first fashion show.

When the tragic events of 9/11 engulfed the residents of New York City, he felt that his hometown needed him during the difficult times.

“Creativity, expression is what will bring the city back. Need it I felt very strongly (that) I wasn’t going to go back to London, that wasn’t going to happen, that resilient strength I needed to be there,” he said.

Another highlight of his design career is dressing prominent figures and actresses such as Princess Eugenie of York, Uma Thurman and Claire Danes.

“It won’t necessarily be the easiest path, being a creator, but it can be a very satisfying role. You can make people feel really beautiful, empowered and happy, and really bring joy. And sometimes, those moments can add to a cultural narrative,” he said.

In the age of media and digital evolution, the designer believes that fashion is evolving faster than ever and can become a tool to cross cultural borders.



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