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How Zac Posen Gets His Designs on the Red Carpet

The designer describes outfitting celebrities as a game of strategy.

With the Oscars just over two weeks away and Fashion Month in full swing, there’s no doubt that designers are hoping their gowns make a certain red carpet appearance. And that includes Zac Posen, who stopped by the Apple Store in SoHo (a block away from his childhood home) on Thursday evening to chat with British creative director and producer Kinvara Balfour.

Posen, known for his gorgeous dresses sported by so many A-listers in Hollywood, pulled back the curtain on the whole "dressing a celeb" process. For starters, he says that it's not only good press to have an actress wear your creations, but that it also, perhaps unsurprisingly, boosts sales. “One hundred percent," he says. "We live in a celebrity-driven culture. We can believe that the street is the fashion plate, but it doesn’t have any of the impact that red carpet dressing has. They are the people that have a cultural, international dialogue about the outfits.”

Even before Posen does a runway show, he’s in a constant dialogue with several stylists about the awards circuit. After that, it's an approval process from everyone involved, including stylists, managers, publicists, agents and even family members of the performer.

“You can dress somebody and say, ‘Buh-bye! Have a great time,’ watch them drive down a driveway, and then turn on your TV and they’ll be in a different dress,” says Posen, who describes outfitting stars as a game of strategy. “You have to go for it,” he says. “This is a very competitive business. It’s art and commerce that mix.”

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And now that we’ve seen his fall 2014 collection of beautifully draped and pleated voluminous gowns, we’re hoping a few of them will pop up in March on the big night.