NY Fashion Week Houston
Black Models Matter

Zac Posen proves black models matter in collection fit for a modern-day princess

Zac Posen proves black models matter in collection fit for a princess

Zac Posen fall 2016 look 23
Zac Posen blue cotton mixed floral print asymmetrical top with matching skirt. Photo courtesy of Zac Posen
Zac Posen fall 2016 look 1
Zac Posen oxblood cashmere five-button wool coat with velvet trim, burgundy ribbed cashmere turtleneck, wine single-pleated cropped trousers. Photo courtesy of Zac Posen
Zac Posen fall 2016 look 20
Zac Posen navy cashmere embroidered pocket floor-length vest, midnight cashmere cape with velvet trim, navy ribbed cashmere turtleneck, navy cashmere and wool trousers. Photo courtesy of Zac Posen
Zac Posen fall 2016 look 44
Zac Posen green cotton mixed floral print cape-sleeve gown with draped back. Photo courtesy of Zac Posen
Zac Posen fall 2016 look 47
Ugandan model Aamito Lagum closed the Zac Posen show in a black stretch cady wrap shoulder capelet gown with hand-embroidered glass bead trim.   Photo courtesy of Zac Posen
Zac Posen fall 2016 look 5
Zac Posen burgundy and rust mixed floral print strapless wrap gown. Photo courtesy of Zac Posen
Zac Posen fall 2016 look 23
Zac Posen fall 2016 look 1
Zac Posen fall 2016 look 20
Zac Posen fall 2016 look 44
Zac Posen fall 2016 look 47
Zac Posen fall 2016 look 5

What: Zac Posen fall runway show.

Where: Spring Studios during New York Fashion Week.

The surprise: Designers are often criticized for the lack of diversity on the runway, and while that's been improving in recent years, it's still a surprise to see more than a handful of models of color in a single show. No designer made a stronger fashion week statement than Posen, whose runway show featured 25 black models, along with a sprinkling of Latinos and Asian who all rocked the catwalk.

Posen gave no hint about his choice of models in his program notes, although he said he based his collection on the style of Princess Elizabeth of Toro, a Ugandan lawyer, politician, diplomat, model and actress who fled her home country during its long period of violence and turmoil but later returned and served as ambassador to the United States.

As a tribute to the princess, Posen closed the collection with Ugandan model Aamito Lagum in a wrap shoulder capelet gown with hand-embroidered glass bead trim. He also posted a photo of himself on Instagram holding a bag embossed with the words "Black models matter" and a hashtag #Diversity is what makes the world beautiful and inspiring!"

The look: Posen is known for flashy evening wear, but this collection is considerably toned-down, with smart jackets, trousers and coats in burgundy and rust — the entire collection has much more daywear than Posen usually shows — along with floral print dresses in green, blue and burgundy/rust with handkerchief hemlins and asymmetrical shoulder and waist panels.

Unlike the voluminous structured gowns that Posen is known for, he showcased much more comfortable-looking evening wear, cut close to the body in green florals or black stretch cady material that highlights the body while allowing ease of movement and easy elegance.

The view: Posen will showcase his collection in Houston on Tuesday at the March of Dimes Best Dressed Luncheon at the Hilton Americans-Houston hotel and at a trunk show at Neiman Marcus on Wednesday.