Glenn Close wore one his gowns to the 2012 Academy Awards. Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner, and Beyoncé Knowles are smitten with the Soho-based designer’s slinky mermaid gowns, 1940’s style fitted suits, and splashy cocktail dresses. So we were a bit breathless to learn that the internationally renowned designer showcased his latest collection at Fashion Houston last night.
And the party rolls on. Founded in 2010 by philanthropist Jared Lang, this year’s event (which runs through Thursday November 15 at the Wortham Theater Center), boasts its most star-studded roster of designers, including Georges Chakra, the Beirut-based Lebanese haute couture designer, Max and Lubov Azria, and Gemma Kahng.
We were curious about Posen’s take on Southern style, so I caught up with him in Houston, via cell phone, for a quick chat:
Confession: I got married in one of your dresses, barefoot, on the beach on Pawley’s Island, and wore another one of your frocks to our fried chicken brunch reception the next day. For that reason I think of you as an utterly romantic designer. Is that accurate?
I am a pure romantic, an optimistic romantic, and a perfectionist through and through. I think that’s a pretty American combination.
What is unique about Southern Style?
I’ve learned a lot about style from the South. When I was 21, Neiman Marcus brought me to Dallas and Houston, and that was a very influential time in my life. There’s an elegance of dress, a romanticism and grandeur of the American Lady that’s so different from the hustle bustle and utilitarian style of urban dress in New York.
What’s one style secret that every Southern woman should know?
Keep enjoying the jewels, ladies, keep enjoying the jewels! I think that’s a Southern style secret and I also notice bold experimentation with fragrances. There’s a level of self creation that women in Texas and the South possess. I travel all around the world, and women in the South truly express themselves and their creativity through their dress–it’s the true definition of chic.
What Southern designers inspire you?
Alabama Chanin is a really good friend of mine. We’re both obsessed with the preservation of craft. That’s what I teach to my school of interns, and that’s what she did in Alabama. Billy Reid is lovely. I always get along with Southern designers at Vogue functions in New York. I hope I give them the same warm welcome that they provide me in the South.
Houston is an amazing food town—what’s the best thing you’ve eaten this week?
I have had some amazing food experiences, including barbecue right off the highway, and really great steak. I always save my steak consumption for Texas. And I always have really wild dessert creations, completely imaginative with plenty of flourish.
Are those desserts a metaphor for Texas style?
There’s a level of dressed up quality here that celebrates the decorative joys in life. Southern women have big hearts and big personalities. The South is a wonderful part of our American heritage and culture, and I love it that you can still find that level of romanticism in America.
Heading to Houston? Here’s what’s left to see tonight and tomorrow.