Brooks Brothers taps Zac Posen as women's creative director

First Brooks Brothers women's collection under new creative director Zac Posen to hit retail for spring 2016

Brooks Brothers announced Friday that it has hired designer Zac Posen to serve as creative director of its women's apparel and accessories collections.

The announcement said that in his new post, Posen will "direct the current Brooks Brothers design and merchant teams and will be responsible not only for the women’s collection but will also affect a variety of areas including brand development and presentation for the women’s label."

In the press release, Brooks Brothers chairman and CEO Claudio Del Vecchio called Posen "one of the most talented and influential American designers working today."

Posen, known for his retro red carpet extravaganzas, is almost certain to generate plenty of buzz for the women's side of the 196-year-old brand where, according to the company, the women's category accounts for just 20% of global sales.

(Interesting factoid from Friday's announcement: Brooks Bros. began selling women's wear -- capes apparently -- as early as 1874.)

Posen launched his namesake women's collection in 2001 and has seen his handiwork go on to become red carpet staples worn by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman and even First Lady Michelle Obama.

In addition to forging partnerships for eyewear (with Kenmark Optical, due to hit retail in September) and wedding dresses (with David's Bridal, which debuted in February), the 33-year-old is a social media-savvy designer with a presence on both Facebook and Instagram and he has a pop culture CV that includes recently serving as a judge on "Project Runway" alongside Heidi Klum and Nina Garcia.  

The appointment to helm the women's business is reminiscent of Brooks' partnership with designer Thom Browne, announced in 2007. The company had sought out the fashion-forward menswear designer to create an edgier look for the storied American brand. The result, a collection called Black Fleece, has since expanded into women's offerings.

While that collection is designed by Browne, Del Vecchio told industry trade paper WWD that Posen's role is different. "We already have a team in place, so he’s not going to be a designer, but a creative director," he told WWD. "He’s someone we trust and admire for what he does, and he can add to what we’re already doing.”

According to WWD, Posen will continue to move forward with his eponymous label. The first Brooks Brothers collection under Posen's guidance will hit retail in spring 2016.

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