At 22, fashion designer Zac Posen has only been legally able to drink or gamble for a little over a year-but in that time, he has staged three well-received fashion shows, and his designs have appeared on the backs of Natalie Portman, Naomi Campbell and Demi Moore.
His latest accomplishment: an outfit for the cocktail waitresses at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, which is set to open this July in Atlantic City.
“I love casinos!” the baby-faced fashion darling said recently when a reporter visited his studio on Laight Street, where both his mother, Susan, a former mergers-and-acquisitions lawyer, and his 30-year-old sister, Alexandra, help him run his business.
Mr. Posen graduated from Saint Ann’s high school in Brooklyn, attended that fashion-school Mecca, Central St. Martin’s School of Art and Design in London. (Stella McCartney is a graduate.) He then held a two-year internship at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art before embarking on his clothing line.
“I’ve never played in a casino before,” he said. “I’ve been to the construction site of the Borgata, though. It’s on the marina. They rebuilt a highway to get to it.”
An assistant wheeled out a mannequin dressed in the Borgata uniform: a red minidress and a bolero jacket made of four-ply stretch silk.
“The interior of the Borgata is a light mustard yellow, and I thought the red would be a good contrast,” he said.
Nine hundred of the outfits are being produced at a factory in New York.
While he waits for the big Borgata Hotel opening bash, Mr. Posen and his staff have been working on his resort collection.
“Those outfits are uniforms, too,” he said. “Uniforms for St. Barts!”
Nor will employees of the Borgata lack a certain luxury: Each “Borgata babe,” as Mr. Posen calls the cocktail waitresses who will work there, will have two of his outfits.
“They can take care of one while they wear the other one. It’s like Broadway!” Mr. Posen said. He took a closer look at the garment and noticed there was a blemish on the bustier top. “They got a stain on it!” he scowled, knitting his bushy black eyebrows. “That’s great.”
Mr. Posen said his mission was to make a modern-day casino outfit that was sensual and alluring and not demeaning, but “would still sell drinks.”
“We wanted to make something that popped, but wasn’t remotely distracting from the gaming. This is a business ,” he said.
He explained that during the design phase, he researched old cigarette-girl outfits and McDonald’s uniforms.
“We tried to figure out how all the outfits sold a product. We’re selling the casino and the liquor here,” Mr. Posen said. “We’re selling part of the Atlantic City Borgata fantasy. These women are playing a role. Legally, they’re called ‘costumed beverage servers,’ but they’re hired on a performative basis.”
Still, the casino dress had to be comfortable enough to be worn for eight-hour cocktailing shifts.
“The outfits have built-in-underwear, and the stretch fabric enables them to breathe,” Mr. Posen said. “The jacket covers the arms if they’re cold, but it also acts like a push-up bra-it adds even more cleavage. You know, clothes always have to be either bra-friendly or bra-supportive. That’s key in retail.”
Mr. Posen said his wardrobe contact at Borgata told him to keep several things in mind: support, utility, sex, drama and stimulation.
“Legs are also important. With this outfit, you see almost the entire leg. It’s all a tease. We wanted the skirt to flirt with the customer,” Mr. Posen said. “The cocktail waitress approaches her customer and places her hand on his back. The person will turn around, and in his sight line he’ll immediately see the movement of the skirt. It has to be a dramatic connection. It should stimulate the customer to want to buy more drinks.”
Mr. Posen put on a long coat he designed for the fall.
“This is a really fierce jacket. It’s yak fleece,” he said. “The back of this is so flirtatious. You can see the leg.”
To demonstrate the effect, he flipped the flap at the bottom of the jacket. “I try on all my clothing. I never tried the Borgata Babe outfit on, though. I wish I did.”
Everything Is Fine
City cops are reportedly being asked to up their productivity goals-with the result that people sitting on milk crates, riding a bike without a bell, and leaving their dealership’s black frame on their license plates have all been given tickets or summonses in recent weeks.
It’s Bloomberg time. Some of the regulations you’ll want to make sure to follow as things get more uptight:
Parks Commission regulations:
“No person shall voluntarily bring, land or cause to alight within or upon any park, any airplane, balloon, parachute, hang glider, or other aerial device. Fine: up to 90 days imprisonment, and/or up to $1,000, or both.”
“No person shall bring into or use in any pool under the jurisdiction of the Department, artificial floats, masks, spears, fins, snorkels, air or gas tanks, or other apparatus used for skin or scuba diving. Fine: up to 90 days imprisonment, and/or up to $1,000, or both.”
“No person shall land a boat of any kind other than a human-powered boat, such as a kayak, canoe, rowboat or pedal boat, on any park shore. Fine: up to 90 days imprisonment, and/or up to $1,000, or both.”
“No person shall use a metal detector in any park, except in unvegetated beach areas. Fine: up to 90 days imprisonment, and/or up to $1,000, or both.”
Parking Commission regulations:
“Selling/offering merchandise in metered parking space. Fine: $55.”
Sanitation Commission regulations:
“Snow may not be thrown into the street. Fine: $50 to $100.”
“No mat, carpet or cloth may be shaken or beaten so that … dust is created. Fine: $50 to $250.”
“No swill, brine, offensive animal matter, noxious liquid or other filthy matter of any kind shall be allowed by any person to fall upon, or run into any street or public place. Fine: $50 to $250.”
“Do not use blue, red or clear bags for regular [non-recyclable] refuse. Fine: $50 to $100.”
“A person who discards a refrigerator must remove the locking device or hinges from the refrigerator before placing it out for collection. Fine: $100 to $1,000.”
16-120(b & c)
“Yard sweepings, hedge cuttings, grass, leaves, earth, stones or bricks may not be mixed with household waste. Fine: $50 to $100.”
-Blair Golson and Gabriel Sherman
We Love You Get Up
(Variation on “Poem: Lana Turner Has Collapsed” by Frank O’Hara and “Limping Liza” by Cindy Adams:)
Liza Minnelli fell down!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started drizzling and misting
and you said it was raining
but raining hits you on the head
hard so it was really drizzling and
drizzling and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
LIMPING LIZA: LET’S GO ON WITH THE SHOW
the lights were out at the Grand Baglioni
there is only one color of carpet on the steps
I have been to lots of hotels
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually fell down
oh Liza Minnelli we love you get up