Zac Posen's Fall 2014 collection was inspired by Charles James, an American designer who worked in the couture tradition and the subject of the forthcoming exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. Based on Posen's more sophisticated eveningwear moments from seasons past, the connection isn't surprising — and judging from the expertly sculpted ball gowns that came down this runway, the result is truly remarkable. And like James is oft remembered for his capes, this offering might well be remembered for the same: namely a navy cape-back gown and a lush copper-brown duchesse satin ensemble.
There were impressive day dresses, as well, all echoing the '50s, with tweed skirt suits fittingly styled with black gloves and cat-eye sunglasses. But this wasn't about the day dresses. The final looks, full-skirted gowns with architectural necklines and lavish fabrics, were awe-inspiring. Perhaps that's why he suddenly switched locations from the Lincoln Center tents to the more intimate space of his personal showroom. If this is a sign of things to come, then Posen needs a proper atelier, so he can find his place in couture.