(Style)

Zac Posen Is Doing Fashion Differently These Days

The designer on his new genderless engagement ring collection and his changing personal style.

By Jessica Estrada
@zacposen
Zac Posen

Designer Zac Posen isn’t one for the subtle. His glamorous gowns have appeared on the most important red carpets — the Met Gala and the Academy Awards included. He’s dressed Rihanna, Naomi Campbell, and Katie Holmes. His Instagram is punctuated with pictures of the finest things: his travels, his favorite meals and art, and of course, those gowns. But with the recent launch of his non-gendered engagement ring collection, Posen is showing another side of himself.

"I wanted to create a collection that was a real celebration of love and an intentional focus on inclusivity," Posen tells TZR of the collaboration with Blue Nile. "I don't think jewelry should have gender norms. Honestly, I really don't. It's so silly. I think a person should be able to be and wear whatever they want and express that through style, jewelry, and dress, and be able to celebrate themselves in that way."

Posen, who has previously designed a collection of engagement rings for Blue Nile as well as a collection of bridal gowns for David's Bridal, has long been interested in the lavish, jovial world of weddings. “I was drawn into wedding fashion because of the celebration that comes along with the union, where a couple is free to celebrate this with their closest friends and family openly and extravagantly,” he says.

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Blue Nile
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Blue Nile
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As with everything Posen designs, his signature style, which he describes as “modern yet timeless with a focus on strength and beauty” is very much infused in this collection, but with a twist reflective of changes in his own life over the last 18 months, including a renewed focus on wellness (he’s a fan of cooking and gardening). “Recently, my personal style has shifted to be more casual than the past, due to a more active, health-oriented lifestyle,” he explains. “You can see in this collection that the shape of the bands and thickness of the materials makes the pieces beautiful and timeless, but also comfortable and wearable.”

Posen marries (no pun intended) the collection’s casual and fresh aesthetic with vintage-inspired touches throughout, in hopes that these pieces one day become family heirlooms passed down from generation to generation. Case in point: art deco-inspired elements are mixed in with bevel set rings that feature simple bands and a stone flush into the metal.

Posen's inspiration for the collection he says is derived from his love affair with antique and estate jewelry — think Georgian revival bracelets — which he collects. “Vintage wedding and engagement rings have always caught my eye for their craftsmanship, elegance, and timeless nature,” he says. “With ever-changing trends that pop up in fashion, I wanted this collection to be an homage to these classic designs.”

Posen describes the inclusive rings in the collection, which range in price between just under $1,000 and $6,750, as timeless and imbued with elegance and a respect for the different metals (think gold and platinum) and materials. "They're staples," he says of the specific design elements woven into the collection, such as baguette diamonds and twisted and contoured bands decked out with pave diamonds. "They're elements that have been used in jewelry in all different ways for a long time."

And because art truly can’t be rushed, some designs, Posen says, have been brewing for six years — a process of gathering inspiration images, followed by drawings, moldings, and mock-ups of corrections. "A ring is something so tactical," Posen says. "It's something you have to touch, and [it] has to feel yummy in your hands."

If you desire to style your own wedding ring stack, Posen has some advice: "Find two rings that balance in texture, shape, [and] form, and fit nicely together." The key, he adds, is finding something — an element — that is highlighted or pops out.

Posen's favorites from the collection include a simple yet striking knife-edge wedding ring and a minimalist ring with a brilliant East-West princess cut diamond. Whatever option you choose from the collection (whether to be used as a wedding ring or as an everyday fashion accessory), it's sure to be a show-stopper ... just like Posen’s red carpet gowns.

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