At LaGuardia Community College, Visiting Fulbright Scholar Steven Gilbers discusses African-American English through the comparison of East Coast and West Coast hip-hop. In a classroom filled with students and professors, Mr. Gilbers proceeds to break down hip-hop culture and the importance of authenticity in the hip-hop community. “Another crucial part of hip-hop culture is this […]
In her debut as a director, Canadian filmmaker Sandy Chronopoulos gave us an intimate portrait of New York City fashion designer Zac Posen, 36, and his extravagant life—private and professional—and left nothing out.
The film, House of Z, premiered at Tribeca Film Festival on April 23, 2017 at the glamorous Cinepolis Movie Theater in Manhattan and received a long applause from a full house.
Ms. Chronopoulos balanced the rhythm of the film from the scenes of high tension during the runways to quiet moments of designing without overwhelming the audience. She gave the spectators the feeling that they were in the same room with Mr. Posen at every given moment without being too intrusive.
Before Mr. Posen’s famous third comeback in 2014 as an established designer and entrepreneur that made him a millionaire and fashion authority, he tasted the bitterness and anxiety of his fall.
After his sensational rise as the most promising designing talent and the recipient of several awards, well documented by the media in early 2000s, Mr. Posen lost touch with his work, becoming unprofessional.
Bizarre behavior in front of cameras was received at first as typical diva behavior of a man who wanted to convince the world he was a huge success. The problem was that his excessive displays were the first in the world of fashion.
Mr. Posen stated in Ms. Chronopoulos’s film how he thought he had to prove success at any cost. In spite of his recognition, he still did not sign any contracts to secure his company’s financial position. Mostly, he desperately tried to hide that he was no where to be that successful and rich. He believed the buyers and investors would shy away if they knew the truth.
Soon after, one by one, his runways turned to fiascos. Celebrities that attended and helped him promote his first shows, including Anna Wintour, the fashion queen whose life is the basis of the film The Devil Wears Prada, Naomi Campbell, Natalie Portman and others, all disappeared.
The “urban fifteen minutes of fame” curse started destroying Mr. Posen after his two attempted comebacks. But how did the whole “Zac Posen Project” start in the first place?
The House of Z business was created by Mr. Posen’s family. Since he was the pivotal talent with a great vision, his family coined the name of their home business with the initial of Mr. Posen’s first name.
The family worked together as a team. His sister Alexandra, also a designer, had always been his muse and best friend. His parents Susan and Stephen Posen, always encouraged his art and creativity, and finally it was paying off. Most importantly, they supported Mr. Posen and his financially risky business and art.
Empowered by his initial success with his designs that stood out from mainstream fashion, Mr. Posen decided he was too good to listen to his family anymore. He started giving orders while dismissing any suggestions, which led to him breaking away from his family. Even though it was painful for both, he became estranged from his sister. The teamwork was over.
During the years of self-searching, Mr. Posen started regaining his competence—not out of newly imposed maturity, but out of despair. His loss of weight alarmed the media.
Aside from the relationship with his boyfriend Christopher Niquet that miraculously survived, Mr. Posen was all alone. His extravagant smiles from the past paraded in front of journalists were replaced by distant eyes behind lifeless, deflated cheeks. This agony of apprehension lasted almost ten years.
Mr. Posen shared with us through tears that it took a decade for him to become a polished expert. When finally feeling calm and focused, he started listening to others, taking an advice, and working hard.
He hired a new team of qualified co-workers he decided to stick with. Random changes were replaced by consistency. Most importantly, he reconciled and reconnected with his family. His passion started returning and tamed designs started to emerge once again.
It takes a strong character and a lot of guts to admit mistakes and foolish behavior in front of the whole world. Mr. Posen’s story as told by Ms. Chronopoulos gives us a great lesson about modesty, humility, responsibility, and teamwork.