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The Comeback Kid: Zac Posen's Glorious Return to New York

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Photo credit: Getty Images

After a couple of seasons showing in Paris, hometown hero Zac Posen returned to New York fashion week with a glorious spring 2012 runway show tonight—full of signature Posen cocktail and evening wear pieces, all body-skimming precise tailoring, intricate embellishment, and luxe fabrications.

It's been years since our last Zac Posen show—and, after tonight, it seems like a lifetime ago. Early Posen shows were circuses, spectacles—1,000-person-plus celebrity-studded see-and-be-seen monstrosities with a heaping helping of big and brash looks spanning day-to-night.

Tonight's show was pared down, simple. Held in a unique outdoor venue—the balcony of Avery Fisher Hall over looking the main Mercedes Benz Fashion Week tents—the show was an intimate gathering of a couple hundred top magazine editors and media friends. The only legit celeb-celeb we spotted in the audience was Kelly Osbourne. Other boldface names included China Chow, Miss J. Alexander, and friends of Posen's model Pat Cleveland.

There was no runway—the models walked down the balcony's stone floor—and we appreciated how this detail helped take Posen's elaborate creations out of the fashion bubble, that weird industry world people can sometimes get caught up in, where everything needs to be shot against a sterile white background. The gowns and cocktail dresses seemed right at home against the backdrop of New York City—and Lincoln Center, home of the Metropolitan Opera, in particular.

Model Coco Rocha, walking in her only New York fashion week show of the season, opened spring 2012 for Posen (who designed the model's wedding dress). The clothes were sublime—all evening and cocktail, to be clear, and we're glad that Posen is done dabbling in sportswear and daywear. We always liked his eveningwear better anyway. Standout pieces, in our opinion, included a bondage-inspired black gown with straps, mesh, and cutouts so subtle that its secrecy made it all the more sexy. And no one does a diaphanous gown or dress quite like Posen—light as air and cool as a cucumber. Wearing Zac Posen seems to impart this feeling of effortless, but carefully constructed glamour—it's as if the clothes are a perfect extension and expression of the most beautiful part of being a fashionable woman in New York City.

We're so excited about Posen's spring 2012 collection. It's right on the money—beautiful, glamorous, modern, young, fresh, but every piece still an instant classic. It's, for certain, a landmark season for Posen, and we can't wait to see where he decides to go next.
· Zac Posen [Official Site]
· All fashion week coverage [Racked]