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First Impressions: Zac Posen

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Fashion world wunderkind Zac Posen showed his fall collection to a packed house at Bryant Park last night. There were five, count 'em, five Steinways on the runway; there were celebrities in the front row (Claire Danes, Nicole Richie, Sandra Bernhardt, Alicia Keyes); and there was super-tight security at the door to keep out the crashers. Here, what the critics thought:

1.) Lynn Yaeger for The Cut: "Five Steinways crowd the runway at Zac Posen, where the pianist siblings known as the Five Browns (the kind of act, and I mean this is the nicest possible way, that one used to see on the Ed Sullivan Show) will accompany the catwalk presentation. Maybe it's the music, maybe it’s the singularly of Posen’s vision — all those muted shades, those baby flowers, a trip to the moon on gossamer wings — but the show is mesmerizing."

2.) Fashionista: "Zac's Fall 09 opened with the piano-playing sibling quintet, the 5 Browns, and with clothes so sumptuous you'd have thought you were in Rococo times (or, at least, sometime before September). Every single look was totally over the top, especially the coats fit for majesties (or, Andre Leon Talley)."

3.) WSJ: "The thing that earned Mr. Posen a standing ovation and screams of delight was his refusal to back down on show-stopping fashions. His runway was romantic, almost Victorian, yet completely modern and urban. Woolen tweedy jackets tossed together with flirty floral silks. Asymmetrical hemlines and a feminine emphasis on the waist countered the oversized shoulders of some looks. The clothes were the show, 5 Browns or no."

4.) AP: "Zac Posen knows how to make a dramatic entrance — personally and professionally.He didn't settle, as most designers do, for a small wave to the crowd after presenting his collection. Instead a tails-wearing Posen, holding the hand of model-actress-artist Paz de la Huerta in a chainmail gown, strutted to the end of the runway to pose and bask in his moment...Posen's fall clothes matched that sense of grandeur. A gold gown with a tremendously pouffy hemline was covered with a quilted organza petal coat, while a broadtail fur coat had an added optic-lace gold overlay. In fact, there were several furs that got the Posen treatment: a mixed rose-colored mink with a metallic floral fabric and another mink decorated with the black and red symbols of a backgammon board."

5.) Marie Claire UK: "Trust Zac Posen to go one better than everyone during fashion week. Yes, other designers had celebs on the front row, but he had more (Rachel Bilson, Claire Danes and Nicole Richie, to name just a few), and, yes, other designers had live music, but no one had five grand pianos and world-class pianists quite like his, and, yes, other designers got plenty of applause, but did anyone else get spontaneous clapping mid-way through the show just because a dress was just so damn good, or a standing ovation at the end? Thought not."