By: Steve V. Rodriguez
At the core, HOUSE OF Z, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, shows the rise, fall and ultimate evolution of a designer which has the makings of any great bio-pic, however this is a documentary about the designer Zac Posen. Posen came onto the fashion scene in 2001 and quickly became fashion’s ‘it guy’. His downtown sensibilities mixed with his couture craftsmanship to dress some of Hollywood’s leading ladies like Claire Danes, Katie Holmes and Naomi Campbell helped to catapult the designer at the young age of 21.
His quick rise also became his downfall as many saw the designer as cocky and fashion loves to crush those it rose to the top. In HOUSE OF Z we meet his lovely family who all had a part in the making of Zac Posen, the designer and the brand. Growing up in New York City, the family was a very tight unit creating an open environment for a young Posen to follow his passion and dream of becoming a fashion designer. His mother became the CEO of the son’s brand as they transformed their downtown loft into a design house. His sister, Alexandra became Zac’s right hand woman at the design house, trading her career endeavors into her brother’s vision.
Rather than just focus on the rise and downfall of one designer, filmmaker, Sandy Chronopoulos explored deeper than the fashion icon to unveil an emotional rollercoaster of one families efforts, struggles and growth to support and sustain House of Z. Chronopoulos also sheds a magnifying glass on the fashion industry itself showing the challenges of producing a seasonal collection and how the business side of fashion works in a changing economy.
Upon leaving New York for Paris in 2010, Posen flees the Big Apple to try and reignite his brand in Europe as his mother steps down as CEO and his relationship with his sister is severely strained. “House of Z” shows how the designer faced his lowest point and was able to humbly refocus and face the music.
Like any good film, “House of Z” culminates at a climatic conclusion for Mr. Posen as he prepares for his return to New York, while introducing his new atelier. The preparation for his new stripped down collection of couture is reduced to 25 pieces. Stress is at an all time high and the viewer is along for the ride rooting for the designer they now have a better understanding of.
HOUSE OF Z will ultimately get a theatrical run and is worth seeing merely for the education into the intricate world of fashion on a multitude of levels, but also for it’s intimate slice of life inside the American dream.