Documentary by Sandy Chronopoulos
House of Z is a documentary about Designer Zac Posen. If you’re not inclined to the fashion world, there’s a chance you’ve never heard of him. I don’t pride myself in knowing much about fashion, but I knew who Zac Posen was, albeit not because I was acquainted with his designs. When I first moved to New York, a friend of mine introduced me to the TV show “Project Runway” (then on BravoTV, now on Lifetime). It’s a reality show about amateur fashion designers competing for a chance to launch their career in the fashion world. I was instantly hooked – this show had beautiful clothes, high stakes and all the drama you could hope for in a reality TV show. Zac Posen was one of the judges on the show and I always valued his opinions as a judge, but other than knowing he was a fashion designer, I didn’t know anything about him; House of Z changed that for me.
Zac Posen rose to fame at a young age. He grew up in New York City and began his training in fashion very early with an internship at the Metropolitan Costume Institute. He went on to study in New York and London and launched his first collection at the exceptionally young age of 21. At that time he was all the rage in fashion circles and lived the lavish life of a top celebrity. He was riding high and was awarded one of the most prestigious fashion awards just two years into his career. Then, a few years later everything came crashing down, as is often the case in such a fickle business. Sometimes, one wrong move means you’re blacklisted from the industry and all respect is lost. Zac Posen experienced this and the documentary follows him as he tries to rise from the ashes and rebuild his brand and his reputation.
The film itself captures the heart and imagination of the audience, not because of the beauty of Zac Posen’s designs, but because of the sympathetic nature of his story. The director of the film, Sandy Chronopoulos, wanted to tell the story of Zac Posen’s career through the lens of his relationships. His fall from grace is told through his personal testimony, his colleagues and friends, but most importantly through his family. It’s a poignant and visceral exploration of what it means for one man to stay true to himself as an artist and as a person.