Brunching in Ballgowns

18th May, 2015

We’ve been friends and collaborators of Ecco Domani for over a year now, working with them because we share the same belief in and commitment to upgrading the everyday as they do. We believe in using your best china at breakfast, in real linen napkins, good wine and beautiful clothes: we know that these things are not frivolities, that they really do enhance our well-being, bring people together, build memories and forge ties. The romance of everyday life only gets lost if you let it.

I think it’s pretty clear that around here, we never need an excuse to put on gorgeous gowns and raise a glass with our greatest friends. Still, when we heard the news that one of our favorite designers (Zac Posen!) would be designing a limited edition bottle for one of our favorite spirits (Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio!), we knew that an especially smashing soirée was in order. May it inspire you to round up your own glamour-loving girlfriends this Spring and celebrate life in style!

  • Following this brunch, Jamie and I sat down with Zac Posen himself, to learn more about how this collaboration came about, the ways he likes to entertain, where he sees red carpet dressing headed and why his Instagram is so full of flowers!


    Kelly: So how shall we begin Jamie?

    Jamie: Let’s start with the basics.

    Zac: You work together?

    Jamie: She’s a stylist, I’m a photographer.

    Kelly: So we collaborate constantly together.

    Zac: I’ve seen you on social media!

    Kelly: We’ve had lots of good Zac Posen moments over the years. We went to Bergdorf Goodman’s 100 anniversary party and we both wore Zac Posen gowns and capes together. It was one of our best fashion moments.

  • Zac: Yeah it was great! You guys looked spectacular. In the green and the ivory with the burnout, right?

    Kelly: Exactly! Those were so beautiful. We were a big hit that night! Nobody does a gown moment like you.

    Speaking of, we did a really fun shoot yesterday to celebrate the launch of this. We wore Zac Posen gowns and hosted a lovely, girly brunch. We brought in your Ecco Domani bottles and even had the chef make your Little Violet Darlings. It was really cute!

    Zac: I can’t wait to see.

    Kelly: So how did this collaboration come about with Ecco Domani?

    Zac: Well the collaboration really started over a decade ago. I won the first Ecco Domani award when they started sponsoring fashion.

    Kelly: And was that your first fashion show?

    Zac: It was my first full fashion show. We’d done a mini capsule collection but then going into our first show we had to figure out how to pay for the production in a frugal way. There was an Ecco Domani award and we applied and we won and they sponsored our first show and definitely set the mood pre-show. My first pre-show had a DJ and we had great wine. At that time my runway shows ran about 25-30 minutes long because it was definitely much more of an expressive, theatrical message. It was a very momentous show in my career and for the industry.

    Flash forward to today, over a year ago we got approached by Ecco Domani about developing a packaging for their Pinot Grigio. As a foodie and a person who cooks and enjoys wine, it seemed like a natural extension and I wanted to work with the flavors of it. Like when you do a perfume or candle or something scented or with taste, it all works together so I wanted to play with the brightness of the floral notes in it, something that would work with a more modern décor and a more decorative décor, something that said party time! Cause that’s what a Pinot Griogio is!

    Kelly: And your clothes are so much about festive occasions.

  • Zac: Yeah! And something that’s going to sparkle! So we looked in our archive and came up with a few concepts and I wanted to work the actual Ecco Domani logo into it, which is placed into the flowers in different places. And we found our kiko print, which was a fabric that I had found on a trip to Tokyo in the antique obi market. From there we used the obi textile and redeveloped it with an artisanal mill in Italy to work on an interpretation of how the fabric was woven and the depth of the jacquard in it. And then we used that in a collection a few years ago and then we brought back elements of the print for the bottle design. I wanted to use the sparkling quality of it like the bubbles going up in the flowers. Something that picked up on metallic and something transparent that played against the beautiful Ecco color. The celadon-y, green-y color of it.

    Kelly: That obi’s come a long way!

    Zac: Yeah it’s funny! A source of inspiration at an early morning flea market became inspiration for a relationship to the flavor of the wine and the experience.

  • Kelly: People always ask creatives, ‘where does your inspiration come from?’ and it’s so hard to pinpoint because it’s so many things. It can be something that you found at a flea market one morning that comes back to play years later.

    Zac: Absolutely! It can come from anywhere. Constantly! It’s those little things that you pick up, you collect and you store them in a place in your brain and they appear through your hands or through your vision in different places and different applications.

    Kelly: I follow you on Instagram and it seems to me like flowers are a big inspiration to you?

    Zac: There are a lot of flowers in my life! I feel like they’re little reminders of the wild imagination of nature.

    Kelly: Your gowns are like flowers!

    Zac: Well we try! I mean I don’t think there’s anything harder or more inspiring than natural form.

    Kelly: Well that’s why Jamie and I love your gowns so much. I think the way that you will drape a bodice so often feels like a flower just beginning to unfold, or the hem of a skirt will suddenly explode like a lily.

    Zac: Well we’re organic! Humans are. So there’s an interesting relation to that at the end of the day. Somewhere genetically we are linked to everything.

  • Jamie: So maybe we can talk about some entertaining tips? You’re a great entertainer I hear.

    Zac: I cook 3 or 4 times a week. It’s like putting on a mini fashion show, cooking a meal. A great meal or party should be an experience that breaks down walls and barriers. True entertaining should be comfortable. It’s a necessity, especially in today’s world.

    Kelly: And you like to entertain at home?

    Zac: I do! But I entertain in restaurants too. I’ve thrown incredible events and dinners over the years. I like the theatrical curation of it. I know that’s something I share with an Anna Wintour, putting together her Met Balls ~ her fantasy for others to take part in and enjoy.

    Kelly: How was the Met Ball?! I loved the gown that you made for Katie Holmes.

    Zac: Incredible! The exhibition is spectacular.

    Kelly: Yesterday during the shoot we did, one of the gowns that we shot was the gown you made for Dita Von Teese for last year’s Met Ball, which was so cool.

    Zac: It’s a wild gown inspired by Dita. This was inspired by the theme and by Katie. I wanted to evolve red carpet silhouettes. I thought: no fish tail, no ball gown. This season, I geared it toward a more refined kind of shape for Katie. Still sexy but covered.

  • Kelly: How did you learn the true couture techniques that you use?

    Zac: Its been a lifelong pursuit! First from actually making my own clothing myself: sewing and cutting and pattern making from a really early age. My dad’s an artist so it’s always been about expressing ourselves with our hands. My mom sews and my sister is a fine artist so you know making stuff has always been in my house. There were always sewing machines.

    When I was about 14 or 15 I got my first sewing machine and I started making clothing for my girlfriends and from there I did a deep study of couture techniques. I’m like Zac the Lego maniac! How you build things and construct things ~ I’ve always been fascinated by that.

    I interned at the Costume Institute every summer through high school so that’s where I was exposed to the work of Madeleine Vionnet in a serious way. The very first big Betty Kirke book on Vionnet hadn’t come out yet and all of the research of the patterns was being done there. That began my obsession with lines on the body and form and fluidity and things that we think of as ultra feminine or almost sometimes girly actually being ultimate empowering elements of womanhood and strength.

    It was a great time in fashion. We’re talking 1996 when Galliano was still at Givenchy, transferring to Dior. McQueen going to Givenchy. Thierry Mugler doing his anniversary show. Gaultier in his prime. So you had a lot of dreamers and it was really a changing point in fashion and I think that tapped into a level of theatricality that I’ve always been interested in.

    Kelly: I think it’s wonderful that your gowns are such a fantasy, but they’re still very wearable and surprisingly comfortable at the same time. They’re amazing to wear!

    Zac: Innovation and imagination! You have to think about the body and the experience of wearing it. It’s like drinking a wine, it’s all about everyday luxuries.

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TheGlamourai is a webzine produced by Kelly Framel, a multi-media creative director based in downtown New York (but constantly bouncing around the world). Part fashion blog, part glossy mag, part fantasy travel portal, it's your ultimate online destination for stylish daydreams. Tune in for inspirational editorials, beauty tutorials, outfit ideas, DIYs, jet-set travel tips and more!
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