Zac Posen shuts down his fashion business; House of Z was launched in 2001

November 1, 2019

by Daphne Sorenson

Zac Posen
Zac Posen (Photo by Hagop Kalaidjian/BFA)

Celebrated fashion designer Zac Posen has shuttered his House of Z business (based in New York City), and he’s announced that he’s stepping away from the industry to decide what his next move will be. Posen said in an interview with Vogue about House of Z, which had been put up for sale: “I’ve been personally trying to find the right partner for some time. But time ran out, and the difficult climate out there… it’s not an easy time in our industry.”

According to Vogue: “As early as April of this year, Yucaipa Cos., the investment firm founded by Ron Burkle, was seeking to sell off its stake in the label.” House of Z employees, which numbered about 60 people, have all been laid off as a result of the business being shut down.

“It’s been 20 years of love, I’m very sad,” Posen told Vogue of his fashion career. “But I’ve had the great fortune to express myself creatively, and to have made some incredible work with unbelievably passionate people. The community of people who have come through House of Z and are currently here—it’s a powerful force.”

At age 18, Posen (who was born and raised in New York City) was accepted into the womenswear degree program at London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design at the University of the Arts London. He became an instant success by bursting onto the fashion scene in the early 2000s. In 2001, at the age of 21, his work was being shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, worn by celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, and he opened his own fashion company. By 2004, he had won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Swarovski’s Perry Ellis Award for Womenswear.

Posen made popular the “mermaid” style dress for evening gowns. The celebrities who often wore his fashions included Katie Holmes, Rihanna, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Lopez, Claire Danes and Kate Winslet. He was a consistent attendee of the annual Met Gala.

Like many haute couture designers, Posen expanded his business into low-end retail, through a partnership with Target. Posen also branched out into reality TV, as a judge on “Project Runway” from 2012 to 2017. He was the subject of the 2017 documentary film “House of Z,” which chronicled his challenges of staying relevant and profitable in a fickle industry.