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Zac Posen on Rihanna, Madonna and ‘Project Runway’

“Music is important to me, performance is important to me,” fashion designer recently said at inaugural Rolling Stone New York Fashion Week event

Rolling Stone recently presented its inaugural Rolling Stone Styled event from September 10th through September 11th during New York Fashion Week at The VNYL in the East Village. The two-day event featured intimate conversations with notables in the fields of fashion, music and television, including Dillon Francis, Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee, Billie Eilish, Jay Ellis from HBO’s Insecure and fashion designer Zac Posen. It ended with a performance from rapper Saweetie. See more images from the events here.

Posen spoke with Rolling Stone culture editor Elisabeth Garber-Paul on the one year anniversary of the release of House of Z, the documentary that detailed his career ups and downs and his New York City-based atelier. During the chat, he shared anecdotes about working with Rihanna and Madonna and why he enjoyed his time working on the reality series Project Runway but felt it was time to move on.

On meeting Rihanna for the first time
“I met a baby Rihanna before her first single dropped. … And truly the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. She was magnetic … And I made her a fashion alphabet. A is Alaia; B is for Balenciaga…”

What it means to outfit Madonna
“Madonna I remember. I grew up listening to ‘Vogue’ and dancing in the bathroom. … When I did my first collection I got a request from her stylist… over the years, lots of different corsets and items. She’s kind of one of a kind. There’s also been moments when I’ve sent her something and you don’t know if she is going to wear it or needs a proper fitting. A few years ago, I went to a party and she literally, or whoever was with her team, had stapled the back of it for the fitting. I thought that was pretty cool. And scary, because it’s a beautifully made jacket, but I thought, ‘All good from the front.’”

On Bowie glam
“I got the rare pleasure of making David Bowie a jacket or two. That was pretty incredible. It was from my second collection. I did these jackets that were grommeted with snaps so you could kind of self-drape it. And trust in the wearer and their own creativity.”

“Fashiontainment” and the explosion of clothing
“We’re living in such a saturated time with clothing. We are unfortunately an environmental culprit. And I think that there is such an excess that I do think, in the near future, there will be something reactionary to it. I mean, there is a threshold. You’re going to have islands of clothing.”

On what Project Runway meant to him
“Project Runway is within the fashion world. I would say that’s the first ‘fashiontainment.’ I had an incredible experience on the show. I loved every minute of it. I had a blast. To understand my link with music, I wanted to be a performer my entire life — more musical theater realm. I sang in a choir from eight to 18. Sang opera and African dance for 16 years, tap, Irish step dancing, all that stuff. So when I went on Project Runway it was an avenue for being onstage for two months out of my summer for six years.”

What he learned from Heidi Klum
“The woman has an epic work ethic, laser focus. It’s unbelievable. It was like this final dusting of, dusting of a public figure. I mean, she’s a mogul. And it’s on-camera, off camera, family, business, approving every photo. It created a kind of drive that I was able to see. … I got really into it.”

Why he decided to leave the show
“It was time. I had a great experience and it was time for me to pursue my other creative ideas I want to work on. [It] changed networks — totally different team. It is a community and a family that changed: Heidi left; Tim left. It is going to go into its next, hopefully, incredible version.”

In This Article: direct, Fashion, GucciSPN

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