Zac Posen Spring 2013 | Runway

Zac Posen Spring 2013

Zac Posen Spring 2013 | Runway

The glamorous severity that has been present in Zac Posen's last several collections melted away for Spring 2013, a brilliant spectacle of modeling star power (Naomi Campbell opened the show; Coco Rocha closed it) and a selection of dresses, suits, and gowns that got prettier and softer as the show progressed.

Posen's skilled hands sculpted floral prints into almost sweet, body-hugging frocks with sweetheart necklines and flirty hems. His customarily intricate seam work in these pieces was gentler this season, its lines obscured by the visual softness of chiffon or by mismatched edges of prints coming together. Jackets were embellished with pleats, peplums, or draped lapels, while a few tulle pieces were sheer enough to show their boning — but sufficiently opaque to leave something to the imagination.

But Posen is a gown man through and through, and he displayed his mastery of technique and craft when he sent his floor-length creations down the borrowed balcony of Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. Embroidery, draping, and pleating abounded in this section of the show. A cascade of blue pleated organza overflowed from the bottom of a satin gown, and the floral prints from earlier in the show turned into embroidery. Erin O'Connor, who last appeared in Posen's Resort 2013 lookbook, walked down the runway in a jade green gown that combined satin and tulle. The designer's final look, a white tiered organza creation — the only dress Rocha will wear during New York Fashion Week — spoke to the tradition of ending haute couture shows with a bridal gown. If this was Posen's way of asserting that he deserves a place among the pantheon of the world's couturiers, it couldn't have come with a better collection.