Zac Posen Shares His Tips & Tricks For Looking Chic in the Hamptons

Zac_By_Michael_Portrait They say that there are no rules in fashion. But Zac Posen has one: no flip-flops. “No way,” exclaims the 33-year-old New York designer. “Flip-flops are not allowed in my office. Not even on women. No way.” And should a member of his team break his cardinal rule, they are instructed to go home and change. “You have to set a standard to encourage young people to dress up,” he explains. “We live in such a fast fashion time that casual has become sort of the everyday decorum and I think that it is important to remind people in all different moments the importance of dressing appropriately.” Look-12_Final For Posen, that means wearing cotton or linen suits and textured open-weave shirts to combat Manhattan’s rising temperatures. “I still wear a tie because I’m usually shooting Project Runway in the summer,” explains Posen, who is about to begin filming his third season with Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, and Tim Gunn. “They are my summer TV family,” he says excitedly. “Heidi and I sing the entire time. We want to make Project Runway into a musical one-hour segment! It’s a long, long shooting day and a huge time commitment, so I have to keep myself entertained. I do lots of funny things behind the scenes on the shadow runway that I’ve posted on Instagram before.” In addition to providing national exposure for his brand—and plenty of laughs for his co-stars with his silly antics—the show has also enabled Posen to indulge his philanthropic side. “Throughout the last three months, we have raised more than $2.6 million doing charity events with fashion shows,” he discloses. “I think a part of that is being able to have the draw from being on television. I like being able to use my public image, my work, my creativity, and my brand to do better for the world.” Look-20 When Posen is not busy nurturing emerging fashion designers or perfecting his own high-end designs, he likes escaping to the Hamptons to relax and unwind. “My Hamptons reality is the beach and a house,” he admits. “I’m a farmer’s market kind of person. I like all the vegetable and fruit stands. I’m also an ocean fiend. There’s nothing more refreshing than getting in that briny, salty water, being cleansed, and having all of the toxins and radioactivity of cell phones sucked out of you for a minute. Even thoughthe ocean is that dark murky color, pebbly, and always slopes and drops deep and fast, I just love it. And I love the dunes in Montauk.” But what Posen loves most of all in the Hamptons is the colorful fashion, a sharp contrast to the endless sea of little black dresses in Manhattan. “There are people who really take the whole Hamptons look to the next level and it is sort of a mix between Americana preppy and nautical, with a little Jacqueline Onassis thrown in,” he continues. “There are a lot of really eccentric people in the Hamptons and I like their self-created New England, preppy look when it gets totally kooky. And you can find those people at Sant Ambroeus for sure.” Look-3 For those looking to make a statement—without garnering strange looks—Posen suggests playing with prints or bright colors, like orange and yellow, and choosing classic silhouettes that flatter a woman’s body, much like the pieces in his Spring 2014 collection. “I love the printed chiffon yellow gown. I think that is a great day to evening look,” he reveals. “The fabric doesn’t really wrinkle much and you can definitely throw it into a bag and bring everyday glamour into the evening.” Though the idea of donning lemon yellow may seem daunting, Posen encourages women to embrace the bold hue, insisting that all it takes is a little suntan. “The orange dress in my collection is also great because it can go from dressy casual right intoevening as well. It would look really cute with an almond-toed black heel or a wedge. Andorange is easier to pull off than yellow,” he divulges. “Plus, it looks sort of cha-cha with those ruffled sleeves. It’s made out of a fabric that we created called bondage jersey. It’s like having breathable Spanx built right in, and it does not wrinkle the fabric.” And much to the delight of women everywhere, Posen suggests ditching hard-to-walk-in stilettos and opting for comfortable wedges or flats when socializing in the East End. “Stiletto high heels just do not work inturf,” he declares. Instead, he recommends using statement jewelry, patterned shawls, or shockingly, even tea to add a little pizazz to any outfit. “I like tank tops in off tones instead of bright whites,” he reveals. “People should take their white tank tops and tea-stain them. It gives them a nice sort ofnostalgic look, plus it is a good way to cover up stains.” ∎ 5-21-Accessories-Wed-(2)

Between daytime pool parties and evening beach bonfires, sometimes there simply isn’t time to swing home for an outfit change in between events. For those occasions, eye-popping handbags are a gal’s best friend. “Graphic print and you’re ready!” Posen exclaims. “The bags are great because they can go with a beach cover-up or with a more dressed up look. They will also blend into all the floral prints.”