After clothing 13 starlets in meticulously constructed evening gowns for Monday night's Met Gala in New York City, designer Zac Posen ended his week as the star attraction at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's 58th annual Daisy Day Luncheon.
As expected, this year's fund-raiser was a chic collaboration between the hospital and Saks Fifth Avenue in Bala Cynwyd. Saks carries a curated collection of Posen's studious day wear and satiny evening gowns.
More than 700 guests attended the posh affair in the Hyatt at the Bellevue. It raised $1.7 million for the hospital's Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, the division that treats babies in the womb.
The highlight of the Thursday afternoon lunch was a New York Fashion Week-style presentation of Posen's tubular, long-sleeved day dresses with built-in capes and peplumed pantsuits, and a finale of dramatic evening wear in waist-cinching hourglass silhouettes.
And much to an old-school fashionista's delight, the show opened with a dramatic catwalk courtesy of Anna Cleveland. Cleveland is the daughter of Pat Cleveland, one of the first black models to cross over to white audiences in the 1970s. Posen and Anna Cleveland are good friends.
"I'm honored to be supporting the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia by presenting my collection," said Posen, who in addition to presenting his pre-fall and fall 2014 collections designed a special I Zac T-shirt for the young patients. He also introduced style-watchers to his new collection of eyewear.
"The millions of dollars these designers, like Zac, have helped raise have impacted so many young lives," said Alan Tobman, vice president and general manager of the Saks store.
Design duo Badgley Mischka, as well as Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta, have attended past Daisy Days.
The curly headed Posen, 33, once considered the wunderkind of American fashion, oversees four labels at his New York-based House of Z: Zac Posen, ZAC Zac Posen, Z Spoke, and Truly Zac Posen, a collection of bridal gowns sold exclusively through the Conshohocken-based chain David's Bridal. Posen is known for his red-carpet confections for stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Gabrielle Union.
In 2012, Posen replaced Michael Kors as the third celebrity judge on the Lifetime network's Project Runway. Posen helped pick West Philadelphia's Dom Streater as the winner of the 12th season last year.
"I was her champion the whole season," said Posen, natty in a slate three-piece suit he designed for himself. "She lit up the room. Her energy was sensational. She had her own voice. I liked the prints she was doing. I can't choose favorites, but I fight for who I like."
He said he wasn't surprised when his A-list friends started calling on him to design their ensembles for this year's Met Gala, a salute to the American couturier Charles James.
He was most impressed with the turquoise gown with heavily constructed bodice he made for the Chinese model Liu Wen.
"It was quite a thrilling experience," Posen said.